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Easy Steps To 

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(P.57) 



October 2006 Vol.4 Iss. 10 



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Table Of Contents 

Volume 4* Issue 10 

October 2006 






www.pctoday.com 



Featured Articles 



32 



Nokia Smartphones 

Prepare For The Finnish Invasion 



Nokia dominates the world's mobile phone market. 
And despite Motorola's strides, Nokia remains at 
the top of the heap in the United States, as well. So 
why do only a fraction of Nokia's smartphones 
reach North American shores? This article looks at 
that question, as well as what makes Nokia smart- 
phones so cool and whether you can expect to see 
more of them in U.S. stores. 



38 



Windows Vista 

What's It Like & How Is It Different 
From What You Already Know? 




Microsoft's next big Windows operating system 
release is just around the 
corner: this year for manu- 
facturers, early 2007 for 
the retail shelves. What 
does Windows Vista 
have in store? This ar- 
ticle offers a guided tour 
of the upcoming OS, with 
a special emphasis on what 
mobile users can expect. 



Copyright 2006 by Sandhills Publishing 
Company. PC Today is a registered 
trademark of Sandhills Publishing 
Company. All rights reserved. 
Reproduction of material appearing in 
PC Today is strictly prohibited without 
written permission. Printed in the 
U.SA GST# 123482788RT0001 (ISSN 
1040-6484). PC Today USPS 022541 is published monthly for $29 
per year by Sandhills Publishing Company, 131 West Grand Drive, 
P.O. Box 85380, Lincoln, NE 68501-5380. Subscriber Services: (800) 
733-3809. Periodicals postage paid at Lincoln, NE. 
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PC Today, P.O. Box 
85380, Lincoln, NE 68501-5380. 




Sandhills 
Publishing- 





A 






Lo gbook 

We've Got Your Numbers 6 

Noteworthy 7 



Columnists 

The Hot Spot by Christian Perry. 

Your Guide To Wi-Fi 



Scot's Take by Scot Finnie 

Oh, What A Tangled Web Microsoft Weaves 



.22 



.24 



.26 



The Well-Tuned PC by Dave Methvin. 

Firefox Internet Tweaks 



Communications 

Text Me, Please 28 

Cell Phone Messaging Services Tell You What You Need To Know 

Plug Your V Into USB 31 

Call Any Phone Over The Internet With A V-Phone 




VONAGE 

V-PHONE 



PC Today Online 

Stay Up-To-Date With PCToday.com 46 

There Is Something New Every Day 

Multitasking 

Power Tips 48 

Battery & Power Management Tips For Windows Mobile Devices 

A Palm With A View 50 

Change Themes, Views & Colors On Your Palm OS Device 

Smart Nokia Smartphone Advice 52 

A Grab Bag Of Tips For Your S60 Smartphone 

Portable Gear 

Check Out The Treo 700p 54 

We Compare Palm's Latest Smartphone With Previous Models 

Push Email On The Q 57 

Good Mobile Messaging Delivers For This Motorola Smartphone 

Safe & Secure 58 

Lock Down Your Portable Devices 




48 POWER TIPS 



Travel 

International Traveler's Toolkit 62 

Essential Gadgets For The Journey 

Thp Wph 

Citrix GoToMeeting 64 

Conduct Meetings Offsite From Your Office 

Mobile Software 

New & Updated Mobile Software 65 

Maximize Your Device's Performance With New Applications 




RO INTERNATIONAL 

Ul travel toolkit 




Entertainment 

Mobile Games 66 

Fun For Road Warriors 



Business Travel 911 

Solve Network Connection Problems 70 

Cope With Identity Theft 72 

Crank It Up 74 



Departures 

The Delayed Traveler 

Admit It, This Is The First Page You Turned To 



.76 




RAND MCNALLY MONA (MOBILE NAVIGATOR) 



13 



SCHMAP 



15 



ARC WIRELESS FREEDOM ANTENNA 



17 




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\ 



Logbook 



Compiled by Nate Hoppe 



-^ -w- We ve Got Your -J 

Numbers 




men form the majority of mobile gamers, accounting 
for 61% of such players who spend from one to four hours 
playing mobile ; mes each month. 



Source: Parks Associates 



Checking in 

for your next 

flight is becoming a less painful 

experience, as 42% of airlines currently 

offer mobile check-in. The trend is 

expected to continue, as 72% of 

worldwide airlines are projected to 

offer mobile check-in in 2007. 

Source: SUA (Societe Internationale de Telecommunications 
Aeeronautiques), Airline Business, and NSM Research, 2006 



irefox is still the No. 2 browser as Micro- 
soft's ubiquitous Internet Explorer maintains its top position. 
But Mozilla continues to gain ground. A July 2006 study re- 
veals that Firefox's usage share increased by 1.14% since May, 
for a total U.S. usage share of I 5.82%. source: oneStat.com 



600 Million 

Intel recently pledged $600 million toward Clearwire's 
development of a nation-wide WiMAX network. The 
move is seen as an effort to increase the demand for Intel's 
Centrino chipset in notebooks that include the wireless 
technology. Motorola is also expected to contribute toward 
the funding of the WiMAX network, source: internetNewsBureau.com 




map«uest. : 

MapQuest Mobile made a strong showing throughout Q I this year 
and currently sits at the top of the heap of revenue-generating non- 
game/TV mobile downloads. The Zingy product accounted for 21.9% of 
the total revenue generated by the top I most popular mobile 
downloads — about 16% more than the second most popular app on 
the list, The Weather Channel. source: telephia 






Do you have a 
RAZR? Odds are 
that you do, or at 
least one of your 
friends does. 
Motorola recently 
announced the 
sale of its 
50 millionth 

unit, and com- 
memorated the 
event with a 
two-hour contest 
in Chicago during 
which a free 
RAZR was given 
away every 50 
seconds. 

Source: Motorola USA 



6 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Logbook 



Compiled by Nate Hoppe 



Noteworthy 



Unusual Mobile News 



A Phone With A Breathalyzer? 

We all know the importance of handing over our keys after 
enjoying one beverage too many at the local Friday Afternoon 
Club gathering, or talking our friends into doing the same. 
Sometimes convincing them isn't the easiest thing to do. LG, a 
South Korean cell phone manufacturer, has a solution: the 
LP4100, which incorporates, of all things, a breathalyzer. 
After a session of consuming alcoholic beverages, one needs 
only to blow into a spot on the phone, which will then let you 
know if youVe had too much to drink. You can also adjust 
settings on the phone to not allow you to dial specific num- 
bers when your blood-alcohol limit is over .08, meaning no 
more embarrassing drunk dials. LG plans to introduce the 
LP4100 to the U.S. market in the near future. 

Source: ABC News Internet Ventures 



Around The World 



Web Shame Useful In Retrieving Stolen Device 

When his friend's T-Mobile Sidekick was stolen, a New 
York man used good old-fashioned shame to help get it 
back. After learning that the 16-year-old thief was using the 
phone to post pictures and send email, Evan Guttman cor- 
responded with the girl and posted their discussions online 
on his Web site "How Not To Steal A Sidekick." Many sup- 
porters came to his aid, and Guttman utilized this network 
to track down information about the thief, including her 
MySpace account, which he also posted online. As the Web 
site and story drew national attention, as well as aid from 
active military personnel and the (somewhat reluctant) 
NYPD, the thief was finally arrested and the phone re- 
turned to its rightful owner. 

Source: TechWeb and www.evanwashere.com/StolenSidekick 



WiMAX Making 


Paris Striving 


Google Offers 


UK Mobile Users 


Motorola To 


Headway In 


For Free 


Service For 


Love To Search For 


Enhance UAE 


The Outback 


Wireless Access 


Russian Mobile 


Fast Food 


Wireless Service 


In preparation for the 


A new plan calls for 


Users 


Fast food and take- 


Motorola recently ob- 


final approval of Mobile 


400 new access points 


Russian mobile users 


away (carry out) 


tained a network expan- 


WiMAX, Unwired 


by the end of 2007, as 


can now access 


searches topped the 


sion contract with 


Australia has purchased 


well as tax cuts for 


Google's search en- 


list of most popular 


United Arab Emirates 


broad spectrum rights 


companies that lay 


gine and Gmail 


local search categories, 


company, Etisalat. The 


and has established nu- 


down fiber-optic cable 


email service with 


at 21%. Tesco, Pizza 


partnership will help 


merous base stations in 


for a future high-speed 


Russian-language 


Hut, and McDonald's 


Etisalat enhance wire- 


metropolitan areas. The 


network. A quarter of 


menu tools. The ser- 


were the most pop- 


less service by way of 


company hopes to pro- 


the city may test the 


vice is optimized for 


ular search brands at 


EDGE (Enhanced Data 


vide service for 70% of 


free network by the 


users with slow 


18%, 15%, and 10%, 


for GSM Evolution) 


the population. 

Source: TechWeb 


end of next year. 

Source: Computerworld 


Internet connections. 

Source: MarketWatch 


respectively. 

Source: Cellular-News 


technology. 

Source: Cellular-News 



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For Work & Play 



A combination of functionality and fun 
describes the new T-Mobile SDA™ 
smartphone. On the functional side, 
the Windows Mobile® 5.0 phone offers quad- 
band GSM (Global System for Mobile Com- 
munications) (850/900 / 1,800 /1,900MHz) 
for cellular service when you're traveling 
globally, Internet connectivity through 
T-Mobile® GPRS (General Packet Radio 
Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM 
Evolution) networks, and 802.11b Wi-Fi 
support. In addition, you get Bluetooth®, 
speakerphone capability, and numerous 
email and PIM options. 



The T-Mobile SDA™ lets you access as 
many as eight work and personal email ac- 
counts. It offers numerous email integration 
options, including Microsoft Outlook Mobile, 
AOL®, Yahoo!® Mail Plus, EarthLink™, 
Comcast®, Microsoft® Exchange, Lotus 
Notes®/Domino®, and any POP3 (Post Office 
Protocol 3) or IMAP4 (Internet Message 
Access Protocol) email server. 

On the fun side, the T-Mobile SDA™ has 
just as much to offer. There's a 1.3-megapixel 
camera for videos and stills, Windows 
Media® Player, and a miniSD™ memory 
card slot. 



T-Mobile SDA™ $299.99 retail; $149.99 with rebates 
T-Mobile USA www.t-mobile.com 



The T-Mobile SDA™ Smartphone 
Comes With These Apps And Tools: 

• Microsoft Windows Mobile® 5.0, 
ActiveSync®, Office Outlook® 
Mobile (includes email, calendar, 
contacts, tasks, and notes) 

• Internet Explorer Mobile 

• Windows Media® Player Mobile 

• Pocket MSN® (includes MSN 
Messenger, MSN Hotmail, and 
MSN Mobile) 

• T-Mobile's My E-mail, HotSpot 
Utility, and Instant Messaging 
(supports AOL® Instant Mes- 
senger™, Yahoo!® Messenger, 
and ICQ®) 

• Voice recorder 

• Video recorder 



T ■ -Mobile 



PCToday / October 2006 11 



Special Products Section 



Tech To Go 




















Twistin' & Turnin 



The new Fujitsu LifeBook® T4210 Tablet 
PC combines the convenience of a 
tablet with the work ethic of a note- 
book computer. And the T4210 boasts the in- 
dustry's first bi-directional LCD hinge, so 
you can twist the display in either direction 
for optimum viewing flexibility. The 12.1- 
inch XGA (extended graphics array) display 
also features a 160-degree wide viewing 
angle and an optional indoor /outdoor LCD. 
Fujitsu's fifth-generation tablet PC works 
in notebook mode with an 82-key spill-resis- 
tant keyboard and a mouse touchpad with 
left, right, and scroll buttons. For tablet use, 



the display folds down flat for easy note 
taking or navigating with the stylus and dig- 
ital ink. And the stylus and active digitizer 
continue to work when you place the dis- 
play in notebook mode. The T4210 also of- 
fers a built-in modular bay that accepts an 
optical drive or an additional battery. 

Security features include a fingerprint 
sensor, TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 1.2 
for user authentication, a smart card slot, 
two-level hard drive password protection, a 
security lock slot, and built-in support for 
Absolute® Software Corporation's Compu- 
trace® technology. 



Fujitsu LifeBook @ T4210 Tablet PC Starts at $1,729 
Fujitsu us.fujitsu.com/computers 



12 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



The LifeBook® T4210 Tablet PC's 
Features & Options: 

• Intel® Core™ Duo Processor 
T2300E,T2400,orT2500 

• Two DIMM slots with a max- 
imum of 2GB of memory 

• 802.11a/b/g wireless support 
with dual antennas 

• Bluetooth® connectivity 

• Three USB 2.0 ports 

• RJ-11 modem 

• Gigabit Ethernet 

• SD™/Memory Stick®/Memory 
Stick PRO™ slot 

• Main battery with 6.5 hours esti- 
mated usage time 

• Built-in modular bay for optical 
drive or additional battery 

FUJITSU 



Tech To Go 



Special Products Section 













Your Phone Can Get You There 



R 



and McNally MONA (Mobile Navi- 
gator) turns a compatible Motorola 
cell phone into a GPS navigation de- 
vice. Instead of purchasing a dedicated GPS 
device or installing GPS equipment in your 
car, you can get voice-guided, turn-by-turn 
directions for only $9.99 per month from 
Rand McNally. 

Currently offered by Nextel with more 
service providers to come, Rand McNally 
MONA is a free downloadable application 
that works in conjunction with the pay-as- 
you-go online service. You can get started 
online following the steps at right, or visit 



www.randmcnally.com/mona and click Get 
Rand McNally MONA Now. It also inte- 
grates Motorola's VIAMOTO® navigation 
software, which uses GPS technology to up- 
date and track your location in real time. 

Rand McNally MONA offers an address 
book to add, delete, and update destinations; 
configuration selections that define rerouting 
options; and preferences to customize your 
phone's list of destination categories. You 
can use a home or office computer to man- 
age trips and destinations through an online 
account, and the information downloads to 
your phone automatically. 



Rand McNally MONA (Mobile Navigator) $9.99 per month 
Rand McNally www.randmcnally.com/mona 



What You Need To Use Rand 

McNally MONA: 

• Wireless data coverage from a 
partner service provider 

• A GPS-enabled Motorola handset 
(including models i710, i730, i733, 
1736, 1830, 1836, i860) 

Get Started Online: 

• Go to www.nextel.com/down 
loads, and select Applications, 
GPS, Rand McNally MONA 

• Enter your cell phone number; 
RandMcNally will send a shortcut 
to your phone 

• Read the message on your phone 
and select the link to the app 

• Select Java, MONA to begin 
the installation 

m RAN DMSN ALLY 



PC Today/ October 2006 13 



Special Products Section 




Lose The Luggage 



Tired of schlepping through airports 
with rolling suitcases that don't roll 
and extending handles that won't ex- 
tend (or worse, break off when you are run- 
ning for the plane)? Forget finding the 
best-built suitcase. Lose the luggage alto- 
gether by handing it over to a professional 
baggage service for safekeeping. 

In select locations, if you fly on American, 
American Eagle and AmericanConnections® 
airline domestic flights, you can use 
American Airlines' AAdvance Bag Check SM 
service. The program lets you check in for 
your flight at various remote locations up to 



24 hours in advance. You receive your 
boarding pass and baggage claim tickets, 
and you can then proceed straight to secu- 
rity once you hit the airport. 

American Airlines currently offers the ser- 
vice at approximately three dozen locations, 
ranging from the Doubletree Guest Suites in 
Boston to the long-term parking lot at San 
Francisco International Airport. However, 
the company plans to expand its offering in 
coming months. American Airlines con- 
tracted with BAGS (Baggage Airline Guest 
Services) to provide the service, which costs 
$10 per person in most locations. 



AAdvance Bag Check SM $1 to $20 per person American Airlines 
www.aa.com/aadvancebagcheck 

14 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



American Airlines AAdvance Bag 
Check SM Specifics: 

• 24-hour, off -airport baggage and 
flight check-in at select locations 

• Also available onboard some 
cruise ships for a slightly higher fee 

• Service provided by credentialed 
baggage handler, not airline 

• According to BAGS company rep- 
resentatives, all baggage handlers 
are credentialed for airline pas- 
senger service and security, and 
each handler has passed a 10-year 
background screening 

• For a list of current locations, visit 
the American Airlines Web site 

America nAirlines 



Tech To Go 



Special Products Section 






File Actions Settings Help 



CITY NAVIGATOR 



ATLANTA 




A Schmap Places 
|^ > Sights &A1J 










M « A • ~ 









® (S) 1 = 1 (g <&> 









Don't Map It. . . . Schmap It! 



If there's one thing we dearly love, it's 
cool software that's free. Such is the 
case with Schmap, a map program 
with dozens of interactive guides to U.S. 
and European destinations. For every city 
or locale, there are multiple, multilayered 
maps. With a click of the mouse, you tell 
Schmap to overlay the various layers 
(showing all the items in the categories you 
select) to the base map. 

Roll your mouse pointer over an item's 
icon and a review, address, phone number, 
and link to driving directions appears in the 
right pane. Click a listing and Schmap 



zooms in to show you the location in detail. 
In the left pane, the Directory lets you 
browse categories and items that you can 
also choose to display on the map. In the 
top-left corner, the City Navigator tracks 
where in the city you are browsing. You can 
also bookmark or search for favorites, view 
and Schmap top picks, see reviews and 
tours, print maps and itineraries, and more. 

Schmap is the brainchild of a software 
engineer, who is building these guides with 
the help of a staff and an array of content 
partners, so it's not always Rand McNally 
perfect. But this product is incredibly cool. 



Schmap Free Schmap www.schmap.com 



Schmap Can Do More Than Map: 

• For each destination, Schmap offers 
maps of the city, the region, and 
popular neighborhoods or areas 

• Layers include hotels, restaurants, 
bars, museums, historic attrac- 
tions, galleries, and more 

• Click the Intro tab for a quick but 
thorough introduction to a city 
and its treasures 

• The Directory tab lets you view 
an entire category of listings 

• Check out the Links tab for dozens 
of links to area resource Web sites 

• Explore the button options on the 
interface to take advantage of 
Schmap 's features 




PCToday / October 2006 15 



Special Products Section 



Tech To Go 







A World Of Info 




obiMate WorldMate® 2006 Prof- 
essional Edition can save busy 
travelers time, expense, and the 
sheer headache of trying to keep up with 
real-time travel data, including weather, 
flight schedules, and currency conversion. It 
can even save you from the embarrassment 
of buying the wrong size clothing when 
traveling abroad, as well as keep your daily 
itinerary at your fingertips. WorldMate® 
2006 Professional Edition is available for a 
large number of PDAs and smartphones that 
use Microsoft Windows Mobile® 5.0. 



WorldMate" 2006 Professional Edition $74.95 

www.mobimate.com 

16 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



MobiMate Ltd. 



WorldMate® 2006 Professional Edition of- 
fers 14 must-have travel services, both rou- 
tine and unexpected. Routine services 
include a Comprehensive Flight schedule 
for over 800 airlines; a World Clock that can 
simultaneously display up to five time 
zones; a Global Weather Forecast from 
Weather.com; Real-time Flight Status for 
over 75 airlines; a Currency Converter and 
Exchange Rate Service; and a Desktop 
Itinerary Synchronization that lets you edit 
and exchange itinerary information between 
your handheld and a desktop computer. 



WorldMate® 2006 Professional 
Edition Also Includes: 

• Real-time updates and tech sup- 
port with one-year subscription 

• Global weather satellite imagery 

• World clocks and day /night map 

• Global dialing code guide 

• Worldwide tax and tip calculator 

• Packing list organizer 

• Size and measurement converter 

• Real-time updates and tech sup- 
port with one-year subscription 

• Compatibility with Windows 
Mobile® 5.0 devices from Asus®, 
Audiovox®, CASIO®, Dell®, HP®, i- 
mate™, Mio™, Samsung®, 
Siemens®, T-Mobile®, Toshiba®, 
Palm Treo™ 700 and others 



MobiMate 

mobile travel services 



* 



Tech To Go 



Special Products Section 



All Talk, No Static 




If you're a frequent cell phone user — es- 
pecially if you rely on your mobile 
phone for conducting business — you 
know how frustrating weak, crackly sig- 
nals and dropped calls are. ARC Wireless 
Solutions, a company that specializes in 
wireless and networking components, de- 
veloped the Freedom Antenna® to solve 
problems associated with poor cellular sig- 
nals and reception. 

The Freedom Antenna® is a small device; it 
weighs 0.3 pounds and its dimensions are 4.5 
x 3.3 x 0.4 inches (HxWxD). But the device 
delivers big results. Once you stand the 



antenna on its pedestal or attach it to a vehicle 
window using the included suction cups, if s 
ready to connect to your cell phone or smart- 
phone using the included 3-foot cable and 
short adapter cable. The antenna provides 
gains up to 3dBi (decibels isotropic) and 
reduces static and the number of dropped 
calls in fringe areas and places where there is 
a lot of RF (radio frequency) interference. 

The Freedom Antenna® and adapter ca- 
bles are available both online and in stores 
nationwide through Radio Shack and other 
retailers. The $31.95 list price does not in- 
clude the cost of the adapter. 



Supported Manufacturers & 
Carriers Include: 

• Audiovox 

• Ericsson 

• Hitachi 

• Kyocera 

• LG 

• Mitsubishi 

• Motorola 

• Nextel 

• Nokia 

• Palm 

• Samsung 

• Sanyo 

• Siemens 

• Sprint 

• Panasonic 

• Qualcomm 



Freedom Antenna® $31 .95 ARC Wireless Solutions 
www.antennas.com 




(( 

arc wireless solutions 

PC Today/ October 2006 17 



Special Products Section 



Tech To Go 
















BoxWave's Moto Q Protection 




anufacture a mobile device — 
whether it be a mobile phone, 
PDA, digital multimedia player, 
or handheld gaming device — and Box- 
Wave rises to the occasion with accessories 
to power, enhance, and protect it. This 
holds true with the Motorola® Q smart- 
phone, for which BoxWave recently re- 
leased a slew of accessories. 

For overall protection that's both soft 
and durable, BoxWave's new FlexiSkin™ 
line ($19.50 each) for the Motorola® Q does 
the trick. Made from a rubber-like, wash- 
able material with a special consistency 



BoxWave calls SmoothTexture™, each 
FlexiSkin™ fits snugly around the device to 
add extra protection without extra bulk. 
You can choose from six colors (Aluminum 
Grey, Coral Pink, Frosted Clear, Future 
Blue, Jet Black, and Smoke Grey) to add a 
touch of customization to your Q's exterior. 
You also have two design options: one 
covers the keyboard to protect it, as well; 
the other includes a cut-out for direct key- 
board access. 

Other accessories for the Motorola® Q in- 
clude ClearTouch Crystal™ and ClearTouch 
Anti-Glare™ screen protectors ($12.95 each). 



Accessories For The Motorola® Q Prices Vary 
w ww. box wa ve.co m 



BoxWave 



18 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 






Even More BoxWave Accessories 
For The Motorola® Q: 

• Armor Case™ aluminum enclo- 
sure with a padded interior and 
hard-plastic screen cover ($28) 

• Dual HandsFree Headset ($29.95) 
for hands-free talking and high- 
performance stereo sound 

• miniSync™ compact charging and 
synchronizing cable ($14.95) 

• VersaCharger PRO™ combination 
wall /vehicle /airplane charger 
($25.95; $35.20 for charger with 
airplane option) 

• ClearTouch Crystal™ transparent 
screen protectors ($12.95 for one; 
$27.95 for three) 




UME 



Tech To Go 



Special Products Section 




I 

ft) 

5 






M1 ^ Computing Software 

Mobile Com P vour pC- 

at work, home, or r^^^^ 



22SSSC" 



i— *-^!li ****** 






Travel In Sync 



Take your Desktop, your important 
files, and your system settings with 
you wherever you go. Migo® Profes- 
sional keeps your Microsoft® Exchange 
Server-based email, calendar, contacts, and 
other important files in sync when you 
travel, work at home, or are otherwise using 
a different computer. Migo® Professional 
can store your files and settings on USB 
flash drives, memory cards, iPods®, Treos™, 
or almost any USB device that appears to 
the Windows OS as a local drive. 

Migo® Professional will transform any 
compatible computer to look and feel much 



like your own, from the appearance of the 
Desktop to your email, calendar, contacts, 
and browser bookmarks. 

All data is logged to the portable storage 
device; when you leave the guest com- 
puter, no information is left behind. When 
you return to your own computer, resync 
the device, and all of the new information 
will be available. 

Migo® Professional includes Migo® Secure, 
which lets you password protect and en- 
crypt information on the portable device, 
using 128-bit AES encryption and systems 
that prevent brute-force password cracking. 



Migo® Professional $29.99 Migo Software 
www.migosoftware.com 



Migo® Professional Lets You: 

• Access existing mail 

• Send and receive Microsoft 
Exchange and P0P3 email 
using Outlook® 

• Access calendars and contacts 

• Use your Internet Explorer® 
favorites, browsing history, 
and cookies 

• Access your familiar Desktop 
from any computer 

• Keep the most current versions 
of files or folders 

• Create unique profiles for dif- 
ferent PCs 

• Password protect and encrypt a 
Migo®-enabled device 



mi 



• • 



Migo Software, Inc. 



PCToday / October 2006 19 



Special Products Section 



Tech To Go 






>- 





Hip It 

N 



o extra desk space? No problem. 
Belkin's Flip Wireless (F1DG102W) 
KVM (keyboard video mouse) 
switch lets you easily share your monitor, 
keyboard, mouse, and even speakers be- 
tween your desktop PC and your notebook 
computer. The Flip Wireless isn't the first 
KVM switch on the block, but it has a 
wireless remote that makes it a snap to 
switch from one computer to the next. 
Once you attach the KVM's base to your 
peripherals and plug the switch's cables 
into your notebook and desktop, you can 
shift control from one computer to another 



simply by pressing the remote control's 
only button. The KVM switch transfers 
control quickly. 

All of the Flip Wireless' video connec- 
tors plug into standard VGA ports. Each 
of the two cables includes a single USB 
connector and a standard audio con- 
nector. The base includes a VGA con- 
nector, an audio port, and two USB ports, 
which let you attach your USB keyboard 
and USB mouse. We found that we can 
even attach a wireless keyboard's trans- 
ceiver (instead of directly attaching a USB 
keyboard) without any trouble. 



Flip Wireless $79.99 Belkin www.belkin.com 



20 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



The Flip Wireless Supports: 

• Video resolutions up to 2,048 x 
1,536 

• Windows 98SE/2000/XP/2003, 
Mac OS X, and Linux 

• USB keyboards and mice 

The Flip Wireless Includes: 

• Remote control that operates up 
to 10 feet away from the Flip 
Wireless base 

• Audio adapter that helps note- 
book users connect the Flip 
Wireless to notebooks that have 
unusual port layouts 

• Two- and six-foot cables 

• Activity LED 

• Three-year warranty 

BELKIN 



© 



Special Products Section 




Language Learning Success 

R 



osetta Stone's Dynamic Immersion™ 
method reconnects people to the 
language skills they used success- 
fully to master their first language. With 
Rosetta Stone, you start from a position of 
strength — your own strength. 

Rosetta Stone presents four images and 
asks you to select the one that matches the 
written text and the native speakers 7 voices. 
Building on the knowledge you've already 
gained and your intuitive grasp of the each 
picture's meaning, you make a choice. 
There's no translation or memorization, so 
you start making progress immediately. 



The second you complete a task, Rosetta 
Stone provides feedback. Speak a word and 
our unique voiceprint technology automati- 
cally rates your pronunciation. Connect an 
image with a phrase and you'll immediately 
learn if your choice was correct. With Rosetta 
Stone, you always know where you stand. 

Dynamic Immersion™ is a continuous 
process. The Rosetta Stone curriculum is 
carefully sequenced, gradually incorporating 
new words, phrases, and more complex 
grammar as it reinforces existing learning. 
Your understanding of your new language 
grows naturally. 



Rosetta Stone 



Prices Vary Fairfield Language Technologies 
www. rosetta stone.com 



With Rosetta Stone You Can: 

• Learn any of 30 languages 

• Learn a language at your own 
pace as Rosetta Stone adjusts to 
your abilities 

• Compare your foreign-language 
speaking abilities with those of a 
native speaker 

• Practice writing as Rosetta Stone 
checks your spelling, syntax, and 
pronunciation 



Special Discount 

10% off personal edition 

www.rosettastone.com/pqsl06 

1-800-399-6162 



RosettaStone 

Language Learnii 



ttaSti 

ning L wm 



Success 



PCToday / October 2006 21 



Columnists 



CHRISTIAN PERRY 



The Hot Spot 

Your Guide To Wi-Fi 




Christian Perry is a long-time 
contributor to Smart 
Computing magazine and 
its sister publications, the 
Smart Computing Learning 
Series (no longer in print), 
and the Smart Computing 
Reference Series. Please 
send your feedback to 
christian@pctoday.com. 



New York City Sees 
Signs Of Wi-Fi 

Although New York City 
residents continue to wonder 
whether the city will ever re- 
ceive a citywide wireless net- 
work, there are signs of life 
indicating that such a project 
could soon be in the works. 

The city's Economic Deve- 
lopment Corporation recently 
announced plans for a study 
that will examine the feasi- 
bility of building a citywide 
broadband network, covering 
the legal, technical, practical, 
and economic concerns in- 
volved with the initiative. 
According to a request for 
proposals released by the city 
that seeks a consultant for the 
study, the study will address 
"whether municipal initia- 
tives have relevance in New 
York City, where broadband 
availability is already high; 
whether a municipal broad- 
band initiative is necessary to 
ensure that broadband is 
widely available to all resi- 
dences and businesses in New 
York City at competitive 
prices; and whether such a 




municipal broadband in- 
itiative will help to streng- 
then and expand the City's 
economy and promote eco- 
nomic development." 

The study will be broken 
into two parts. The first part 
will examine existing broad- 
band services and determine 
whether the city needs a city- 
wide network or if it needs a 
network that serves only a 
specific neighborhood (or 
neighborhoods). If a need for 
citywide access is established, 
the second part of the study 
will focus on the implementa- 
tion of the network, including 
determination of the best busi- 
ness model and most effective 
technology (or technologies) 
for the project. As part of the 
feasibility analysis, the study 
will examine the impact of a 
citywide network on existing 
broadband and telecom ser- 
vices, as well as the impact on 
existing hot spots in the city. 

In the meantime, New 
Yorkers won't be without free 
access, at least not in certain 
outdoor areas of the city. Free 
wireless networks were ex- 
pected to be up and running 
in 10 of the city's parks by the 
end of August. The parks will 
feature 18 networked loca- 
tions, with eight of them being 
installed in Central Park. 

Foster City, Calif., 
Goes Wireless 

Another California city 
has gone wireless. Foster 
City announced it selected 
MetroFi to build its citywide 
wireless network, which will 



be powered by SkyPilot 
equipment. The city's 30,000 
residents, along with visitors, 
will have free access to the 
network, which spans three 
square miles. Speeds up to 
1Mbps will be available, and 
the network will be sup- 
ported by local and national 
advertising that appears in a 
banner or text advertisement 
in users' browsers. In addi- 
tion to the free service, Foster 
City will also offer a $20 
monthly service that ditches 
the advertisements. 

Corpus Christi 
Welcomes Wi-Fi 

Using a combination of 
mesh networking and Wi- 
MAX technology, the city of 
Corpus Christi, Texas, is 
building a citywide wireless 
network that currently spans 
20 miles and was expected to 
cover the entire city by the 
end of the summer. 

In the current free pilot 
program, Corpus Christi 
installed more than 300 
802.11b access points across 
the city, but the city will 
eventually upgrade the net- 
work to 802.1 lg and expand 
the number of access points. 
Indoor locations inside busi- 
nesses and homes can use 
Wi-Fi range extenders to 
boost the indoor signal of 
nearby network node an- 
tennas, which should help to 
increase the number of sub- 
scribers. Although the pilot 
is currently free, the city will 
implement fees when the 
network is finalized, and its 



22 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Columnists 



estimated network 
access will cost $20 
per month. 

The city is also im- 
plementing an AMR 
(automated meter 
reading) system that 
connects to the Wi-Fi 
network. This system 
will seamlessly con- 
nect residential and 
business water and 
gas meters to the 
city's central billing 

and monitoring sys- 

tern, allowing the city to ac- 
curately read meters on a 
regular basis. Such a system 
will allow Corpus Christi to 
eliminate estimated gas and 
water bills and automati- 
cally detect irregular usage 
rates caused by leakage of 
gas or water. 

Corpus Christi also ex- 
pects the network to supply 
mobile access to law en- 
forcement officers, code 
enforcement inspectors, 
construction and repair 
crews, emergency respon- 
ders, emergency health care 
providers, and schools. 

Intel, Motorola Invest In 
Clearwire 

Clearwire, a wireless 
broadband provider found- 
ed by cellular pioneer Craig 
McCaw, announced that 
Intel and Motorola are 
investing a total of $900 mil- 
lion into the company to 
support the development 
and deployment of Clear- 
wire's WiMAX-based net- 
work technology. 



clearw're 

wireless broadband 



!f 



W 




WiMAX received a boost to the tune of $900 mil- 
lion, when Intel and Motorola recently announced 
plans to invest in WiMAX-focused Clearwire. 



"Wi-Fi has become an es- 
sential part of people's lives. 
WiMAX is next. It is rapidly 
moving from a technology 
initiative to real deploy- 
ments," said Sean Maloney, 
Intel executive vice presi- 
dent and general manager, 
Mobility Group, in a state- 
ment. "As Intel plans the 
integration of mobile Wi- 
MAX into our Centrino Mo- 
bile Technology notebook 
platforms, it is incredibly 
important to collaborate 
with the broadband wire- 
less providers who will 
offer WiMAX services. This 
investment in Clearwire 
will lay the foundation for 
high-speed mobile broad- 
band services across North 
America." 

Intel is expected to pro- 
vide WiMAX chipsets in up- 
coming mobile platforms, 
while Motorola will sup- 
ply wireless broadband 
equipment for Clearwire's 
networks. Motorola will 
acquire NextNet Wireless, 
a Clearwire subsidiary 



that supplies fixed 
and portable NLOS 
(non-line-of-sight) 
wireless broadband 
equipment. 

Motorola 
Launches Muni 
Wi-Fi Platform 

A new series of 
products from Moto- 
rola could make life 
far easier for cities 
interested in ex- 

ploring metropolitan 

Wi-Fi. Canopy HotZone 
provides network technolo- 
gies designed for metro- 
scale wireless broadband 
deployment, scaling from 
just a few square miles to 
hundreds of square miles. 

HotZone includes Outdoor 
Zone Point modules, which 
create the network's infra- 
structure; Nomadic Zone 
Point modules, which deliver 
mobility and ad hoc exten- 
sions of the network; and 
Indoor Zone Point modules, 
which help integrate indoor 
networks into the overall net- 
work. Cities can mount the 
outdoor modules on build- 
ings or lamp posts, and they 
are weatherized and can in- 
clude battery backup. 

According to the Canopy 
HotZone brochure, the net- 
work costs half the price of 
other systems and can be in- 
stalled and configured in 
days, rather than weeks or 
months. Further, cities can 
start with a small imple- 
mentation and expand the 
network as necessary. 





PCToday / October 2006 23 



Columnists 



SCOT FINME 



Scot's Take 

Oh, What A Tangled Web Microsoft Weaves 





ScotFinnie is Online Editorial 
Director at Computerworld 
and the author of Scot's 
Newsletter (www.scotsnews 
letter.com). Hes been a tech- 
nology journalist for more than 
20 years. Send him feedback at 
scot@pctoday.com. 



icrosoft's WGA 
(Windows Genuine 
Advantage) is nei- 
ther genuine nor an advan- 
tage for buyers of Microsoft's 
Windows OS. As one out- 
spoken Windows expert wrote 
to me in a recent email, it's 
arguable whether WGA is 
spyware, but it could defi- 
nitely spawn a new class of 
unwanted software called 
"revenueware." That's exactly 
what WGA is: Microsoft's bid 
to eliminate existing counter- 
feit copies of Windows XP by 
requiring end users to pay up. 
So what is WGA? It's soft- 
ware installed on your Win- 
dows computer whose job is 
to check that your machine 
has a valid, authorized, or 
"genuine" copy of Windows 
as opposed to a version that 
may be pirated and resold. 

It's not such a bad thing 
that Microsoft is trying to pro- 
tect itself from software pira- 
cy. The company has a right 
to protect its intellectual prop- 
erty. The problem is that 
WGA doesn't really go after 
the largest offenders. It goes 
after end users — you and 
me — who are the unwitting 
victims of software counter- 
feiters and pirates. And while 
that's within the software gi- 
ant's rights, I don't want to 
mince words with this: That's 
a stupid policy. 

You might, for example, 
send your computer to a re- 
pair shop and thereafter it 
might fail the WGA test. Your 
PC maker could accidentally 
assign the wrong product ID 



to your new PC. You might 
buy a shrink-wrap copy of 
Windows at its retail price and 
wind up with a pirated prod- 
uct ID. Microsoft isn't going 
to help you in any of those sit- 
uations. You're on your own, 
unless you can turn over a 
realistic-looking Windows 
forgery to Microsoft. Even 
then all you get is a discount. 

There's another problem 
with WGA. Microsoft isn't 
promising that it won't acci- 
dentally have false positives. 
Some percentage of people, 
however small, are already 
being branded by a little pro- 
gram as having unauthorized 
copies of Windows, when in 
fact that might not be the case. 
When you go after customers 
the way WGA does, it isn't 
fair to allow Microsoft to be 
the sole judge and jury, espe- 
cially when it is basing its 
judgment on a program's 
findings. Microsoft admits 
that program could make mis- 
takes. Of course it could; no 
software is perfect. 

Getting A Bad Feeling 
About This 

Throughout recent months 
there has been a large, nega- 
tive reaction to WGA. Micro- 
soft has tweaked the software 
and some of the legal lan- 
guage around it in an effort to 
pull back on WGA's aggres- 
sive behavior. Earlier versions 
were checking for validation 
reportedly on a daily basis. 
Microsoft has apparently 
pulled back somewhat on 
the frequency with a newer 



version of this code, but at this 
writing, there are still overkill 
issues with the way Microsoft 
handles WGA. 

The worst of these is that 
Microsoft is still near covertly 
releasing WGA among selec- 
tions of "critical updates" 
through Windows Automatic 
Updates, Windows Update, 
and Microsoft Update. So, 
even though WGA is cur- 
rently an optional program, it 
is possible to block the instal- 
lation of the WGA authentica- 
tion software if you know 
what you're doing. In a nut- 
shell, don't let Windows auto- 
matically install updates; 
always review individual up- 
dates first. When you work 
this way, you uncheck the 
WGA tool and install true se- 
curity patches only. (WGA of- 
fers no security advantage to 
end users; its only advantage 
is in helping Microsoft fight 
its software piracy war.) You 
also need to specify that you 
don't want to be bugged to in- 
stall WGA later, otherwise 
Windows will ask again. 

Odds are that most WinXP 
users already have WGA run- 
ning on their systems. Micro- 
soft published directions for 
uninstalling the most aggres- 
sive, earlier pilot versions of 
WGA. (The "Arming Yourself 
With WGA Knowledge" side- 
bar at www.pctoday.com/pct 
oct06/scot has tips for re- 
moving some WGA versions.) 

Curiouser & Curiouser 

Microsoft's crowning mo- 
ment of idiocy with WGA is 



24 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Columnists 



potentially yet to come (at 
least as of this writing) Micro- 
soft has considered, and may 
still be considering, making 
WGA mandatory. There have 
been contradictory bits of in- 
formation released to the press 
by Microsoft and its public re- 
lations agency on the point. 
But Microsoft's own WGA 
FAQ (at press time) reads: 
"While the [WGA] program is 
presently opt-in, as it expands 
later in the year, it may be- 
come a requirement for the 
[Automatic Updates] service/' 
(www.microsoft.com/gen 
uine / downloads / FAQ .aspx) . 

How does Microsoft intend 
to enforce this? Many experi- 
enced users are finding ways 
to thwart WGA on the Inter- 
net. Although the majority of 
users probably already have 
WGA running on their ma- 
chines, there is an entrenched 
group of people — and you 
can count me among them — 
who feel WGA needs to be 
fought. How will Microsoft 
force us to install this soft- 
ware? In particular, what will 
the punishment be if we don't 
install the software? 

The first use of WGA I'm 
aware of was with the free 
download of Microsoft Anti- 
Spyware about two years ago. 
If you didn't validate your 
Windows ownership with 
an ActiveX control, Micro- 
soft denied access to its beta 
antispyware utility. That 
carrot-oriented incentive was 
applied to other Microsoft 
downloads, too. To me, this 
was an acceptable way for 



Microsoft to employ WGA. 
But two more negative in- 
centives have been widely 
bandied about by the press 
and Microsoft this year. 

I recently forced WGA to 
invoke its wrath on one of my 
machines by setting the sys- 
tem date one month into the 
future. A WGA warning box 
popped up leading me to the 
WGA Web site for a valida- 
tion scan. As part of the pro- 
cess, Microsoft downloaded 
more WGA stuff to my com- 
puter. I was given this terse 
warning in a pop-up window: 

"If you receive a [WGA] no- 
tification, you will be given an 
opportunity to resolve this 
problem. Only genuine Win- 
dows customers are eligible to 
receive Microsoft product sup- 
port, select security upgrades, 
and other new features." (The 
added emphasis is mine.) 

To me, this crosses the line 
big time. Any notion at all that 
Microsoft would hold users 
hostage for security updates 
because its little WGA code 
indicates the user's machine 
might not be fully valid is 
lunacy. Security patching 
should never, ever be with- 
held to user PCs. Period. 

Losing Touch With Reality 

Microsoft has never used 
the term "kill switch" except 
in formally refuting that it 
would ever "turn off" user 
computers as a way to enforce 
WGA. To my knowledge the 
software giant has never 
intimated specifically that 
it might disable Windows 



machines to enforce the use of 
WGA validation or to stop the 
use of Windows installations 
it deems to be pirated. 

In June, Microsoft released 
a statement to several re- 
porters about one Windows 
expert's claim that a WGA- 
related WinXP kill switch 
might be in the offing later this 
year. Microsoft reporter Eric 
Lai, who works with me at 
Computerworld, was a recipient 
of this message. The statement 
was more interesting for the 
things it didn't say than the 
things it did. In the statement 
Microsoft claimed only that it 
would never "turn off" the 
PCs of users who didn't ac- 
cept WGA. But what about 
blocking access to Windows in 
the same way that WPA (Win- 
dows Product Activation) 
does? When WPA goes to 
work, it effectively blocks you 
from logging in to Windows. 
The machine is still powered 
on, but you can no longer use 
it. Does it sound like I'm 
mincing words? Maybe. But 
don't bet the farm on whether 
Microsoft might not be minc- 
ing them, too. 

I can only hope that Micro- 
soft will come to its senses 
about its WGA antipiracy ef- 
fort and allow it to remain an 
opt-in program. If you're one 
of the unlucky ones who gets 
tagged by WGA, there's no 
way to appeal. Microsoft is 
offering ways to pay up that 
might save you a little money. 
And that's about it. That's 
just not an acceptable way to 
treat customers. 



PCToday / October 2006 25 



Columnists 



DAVE METHVIN 



The Well-Tuned PC 



Firefox Internet Tweaks 




Dave Methvin is chief 
technology officer of PC 
Pitstop, a free site that 
automatically diagnoses 
and fixes common PC 
problems. Contact Dave at 
dave@pctoday.com 






Utility Of The Month: 

Notepad 
Replacement 

Many files that you'll 
find in Windows are 
basically just text files. 
That includes HTML XML, 
Javascript, and Windows 
initialization files (those 
with a .INI extension). Yet 
the only built-in utility 
that Windows offers is the 
anemic Notepad. If you're 
still using Notepad for text 
editing, there are several 
free alternatives that can 
ease your pain. My current 
favorite is Notepad++ 
(notepad-plus.source 
forge.net), because it offers 
great features like syntax 
coloring for most 
common file types. If your 
editing needs are modest 
and you want a simpler 
editor, try Notepad2 
(www.flos~freeware.ch). 



With Firefox 1.5 gain- 
ing momentum and 
version 2.0 on the 
horizon, there is a good 
chance that youTl be using 
this excellent browser for 
at least some of your Web 
surfing. Just as with Windows 
and Internet Explorer, you'll 
often find that it's possible to 
get a bit more performance by 
tweaking some of Firefox's 
settings. One thing is for sure: 
Firefox has dozens of settings 
that you can tweak to im- 
prove your browsing. There 
are so many settings that it's 
hard to cover them all. This 
month I'll concentrate on a 
few critical ones that I have 
found to give many systems a 
speed boost. 

Sorting Out Preferences 

Where Windows and Inter- 
net Explorer put nearly all of 
their settings in the Registry, 
Firefox opts to put its settings 
in a file. That makes sense 
when you realize that Firefox 
is meant to run on other plat- 
forms such as Linux that don't 
have a Registry — at least not 
in the same form as Windows 
does. The good news is that 
because these files are simple 
text files, they're easy to 
change using any standard 
text editor. 

To find the Firefox configu- 
ration files, open an Explor- 
er window and go to the 
Firefox application data fold- 
er for your login. Normally 
that will be C:\DOCUMENTS 
AND SETTINGS\USE£- 
NAMEXAPPLICATION 



DATA\MOZILLA\FIREFOX. 
In that folder there will be a 
Profiles.ini file that you can 
open in Notepad — generally 
you can just double-click it be- 
cause INI files are associated 
with Notepad. 

Profiles.ini is usually a rel- 
atively short and simple file 
because nearly all users have 
just one profile. YouTl see it 
under a heading labeled 
[profileO] and it will show a 
line similar to this: 

Path=Profiles\ default, dop 

This path tells you the loca- 
tion of the configuration files 
for that profile, relative to the 
folder that has the Profiles.ini 
file. So, head back to Explorer 
and open the Profiles folder, 
then the Default. dop folder 
(or whatever your particu- 
lar Path line specified, you 
may see a folder name like 
C5gulxeh. default instead). In 
that folder you'll find a file 
named Prefs.js, which you can 
open with Notepad or any 
other plain-text editor. 

As soon as you open up 
your Prefs.js file, you will no- 
tice a comment at the top of 
the file that says "Do not 
edit." That's because there are 
better ways to change many 
settings that are stored in the 
file. Many of them can be 
easily changed through the 
Firefox user interface (click 
Tools and then Options to ac- 
cess it), or through the user in- 
terfaces of plug-ins that you 
may have installed. 

Just like the situation 
with the Windows Registry, 



though, Firefox has some set- 
tings that can only be reached 
through the secret passage- 
way that is the Prefs.js file. So 
if you want to proceed, ignore 
the "Do not edit" warning, 
make a backup copy of the 
file, and carefully make your 
changes. Do be sure that Fire- 
fox isn't running before you 
start to edit, though, because 
it will rewrite the file when it 
exits. Also, if you install new 
plug-ins and later decide to go 
back to your old backup of the 
Prefs.js file, you may need to 
reinstall the plug-ins since 
they may have put settings 
there that are not present in 
your backup. 

The Prefs.js file stores the 
preferences in a predictable 
fashion, one per line, with 
each line looking something 
like this: 

user_pref("setting.name", 
value); 

The setting name describes 
what the setting does — or at 
least it describes the setting to 
the programmer who wrote it. 
Sometimes it's not so obvious 
to anyone else. Preferences are 
stored one per line, but the ac- 
tual lines can get pretty long. 
If you have word wrap turned 
on in your editor while you 
make changes, a single line 
may wrap and appear to be 
multiple lines. Be careful not 
to add extra line breaks to the 
middle of these lines. If you 
have any problems or Firefox 
doesn't work well afterwards, 
go back to your backup 
copy — you made one, right? 



26 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Columnists 



Prefs Made Peppy 

OK, so let's look at some of 
the settings you can change in 
this file. As far as Internet per- 
formance goes, the most im- 
portant settings are the ones 
that change the number and 
type of connections allowed. 
These serve the same purpose 
as the Internet Explorer Reg- 
istry settings I described last 
month, and the guidelines for 
tweaking them are similar. 
Here are the lines that you 
should add to Prefs.js; re- 
member that each setting goes 
on a separate line and should 
not be broken into multiple 
lines in your editor. The lines 
may wrap here so theyll fit in 
the column but make sure that 
each new line starts with the 
word "user_pref" in the file. 

user_pref("network.http.m 
ax-connections", 24); 

user_pref("network.http.m 
ax-connections-per-server", 

4); 

user_pref ("network. http 
.max-persistent-connections- 
per-server", 4); 

user_pref ("network. http 
.pipelining", true); 

user_pref ("network. http 
.pipelining.maxrequests", 6); 

user_pref ("network. http 
.proxy.pipelining", true); 

user_pref ("network. http 
.max-persistent-connections- 
per-proxy", 8); 

Let's go over what these 
settings mean, in case you 
want to do your own adjust- 
ments. The max-connections 
setting tells Firefox the total 
number of connections that 



you want to keep active from 
all the servers you have re- 
cently visited. If Firefox needs 
to open a new connection, 
for example because you've 
clicked a link that goes to an- 
other Web server, it will close 
an old connection that hasn't 
been used recently if it needs 
to stay under this limit. 
Generally, the value of 24 is 
plenty and is the default for 
this setting; larger values will 
use more memory but won't 
give better performance in 
most situations. 

Check the MAX-CONNEC- 
TIONS-PER-SERVER value to 
find out how many simulta- 
neous connections Firefox will 
make to one server; the MAX- 
PERSISTENT-CONNEC- 
TIONS-PER-SERVER value 
says how many of those con- 
nections will be "keep-alive" 
connections that can be used 
to request multiple files using 
pipelining, explained below. 
On broadband connections 
it's usually best to keep these 
values in sync. The default is 
2, but you'll usually get better 
performance with a value be- 
tween 3 and 6. 

Pipelining allows a connec- 
tion to be used for requesting 
multiple files from a Web site. 
This is an important perfor- 
mance booster because the 
cost of setting up the con- 
nection can be done once, 
and once that connection is 
"warmed up" it can be used 
repeatedly. For that reason, 
we make sure pipelining is 
turned on and tell Firefox 
to pipeline as many as six 



requests on a connection. The 
default is 4; you may want to 
experiment with values be- 
tween 3 and 8. 

If you use a proxy server 
(for example, if your business 
requires a proxy as part of its 
security or network-mon- 
itoring procedures) there 
are separate tuning values 
for proxy connections. The 
PROXY-PIPELINING and 
MAX-PERSISTENT-CON- 
NECTIONS-PER-PROXY 
values determine control the 
proxy situation in a similar 
way to the non-proxy settings. 
Whether you are using a 
proxy or not, just set these 
anyway; there's no harm if 
you aren't using a proxy, and 
you'll get a faster connection if 
you are using one. 

With these values in place, 
you should see better Firefox 
performance on a high-speed 
Internet connection. Tweaking 
some of the values within the 
limits I mentioned above may 
get you even higher perfor- 
mance. Since each connection 
has a different maximum 
speed and latency, a one-size- 
fits-all set of values rarely gets 
you to the perfect place. But 
these are a good place to start. 

Just in case you'd like to 
know more about the options 
available for tweaking Firefox, 
check out kb.mozillazine.org. 
Nearly every Firefox setting 
described above is docu- 
mented in the Configuration 
category under Preferences. 
You'll also find dozens of 
other settings that can be 
tweaked to your taste. 



PCToday / October 2006 27 



Communications 



Text Me, Please 

Cell Phone Messaging Services Tell You What You Need To Know 




Text messages — alphanumeric trans- 
missions to your mobile phone 
using a system called SMS (Short 
Message Service) — are exploding world- 
wide. In the United States alone, users 
send more than 8 billion messages per 
month (as of January 2006), an increase of 
250% per year over the past two years. 

A Few Of Our Favorites 

SMS is beneficial for more than send- 
ing a quick note to a friend or associate 



when calling isn't appropriate or pos- 
sible. Hundreds of companies now 
offer SMS where they send (or you 
request) specific, helpful information 
that arrives on your mobile phone. 
We'll introduce you to some of our 
favorites for mobile professionals. 
(Several are SMS "clearinghouses," car- 
rying content from as many as hun- 
dreds of providers). Note that all 
services marked free involve no charge 
from the provider; however, your 



phone service provider will charge you 
for each SMS based on the agreement 
you have for text messaging. 

Online banking alerts. Bank of 
America (www.bankofamerica.com) 
offers its online banking customers 
(in most states) 18 alerts that they can 
receive via text message or email. Some 
of these alerts target fraud (transac- 
tions over a predetermined threshold 
amount, notice of cash advances or 
irregular credit card activity, new ac- 
counts setup, and account profile 
changes), while others convey pro- 
cessing information such as insuffi- 
cient funds, low balances, or payments 
posted. Banking alerts are becoming 
quite common overseas, and it is likely 
many U.S. banks will offer them if they 
do not already do so (Wachovia and 
J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. are two others 
that do). Ask your bank if it offers sim- 
ilar services for alerting customers. 

Yahoo! SMS Alerts. Yahoo! SMS 
Alerts (mobile.yahoo.com) offers Yahoo! 
users a broad array of alert topics (some 
are generated by Yahoo!, others come 
from content providers). Sign up for a 
free Yahoo! account and you can get 
alerts on everything from breaking news 
and stock market summaries to snowfall 
in the city or region of your choice. If 
you use the Yahoo! Calendar feature, 
you can also get alerts on upcoming ap- 
pointments and events. 

U.S. emergency text alerts. For $2.99 
per month, The Homeland Security 
Information System will send you noti- 
fications of terrorism threats, pan- 
demics and major health epidemics, 
hurricanes, tsunamis, and other threats 
or developments of national signifi- 
cance. Other providers offer this ser- 
vice on some scale, but AlertsUSA 
(www.alertsusa.com) claims to have 
the greatest reach for the price. All 
alerts come from open-source (not 



28 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Communications 



t&HoO? *""?.':, "*"" ] 


Alerts Home - Help 


Create an Alert My Alerts 


Snowfall Alert 


-select from more alerts- v 




Browse for a resort 


Argentina 

>'. huL.ul MjiidiJUi 1 Jey-'jen Pio Najio 
Australia 

New South Wales. Victoria 


New Zealand 

. South Island 
Switzerland 

, 
: , " ; :. : ' : , _'•.'■;■, 


Austria 

, 
Vorarlberg 
Canada - Eastern 

, 
Canada -Western 

, 
Chile 
Central. 
France 


U.S. -Far West 

U. S. - Mid-Atlantic 

Marvland. M = ;.: r . M^. Jersey. North Carolina. 


U. S. - Midwest 

, 

U.S. Northeast 

Connecticut. r?--i«- 


U. S. - Rocky Mountains 




' ' ':, :' : 




ur information, see our Privacy Poliov 



With Yahool's alert service, you can find out 
where in the United States to expect snowfall. (And 
consequently, potential delays.) 



classified and freely available) informa- 
tion that your local news media may or 
may not cover. 

Content delivery is a combination of 
text messages for initial notifications 
and streaming audio for explanatory 
details. AlertsUSA is a private-sector or- 
ganization, and the Homeland Security 
Information System is not affiliated with 
or endorsed by the Department of 
Homeland Security. 

Another entity, The Emergency 
Email Network (emergencye.com), of- 
fers a free version of this service, but 
it is email only. Additionally, the U.S. 
government announced in July that it 
would be able to issue national SMS 
alerts by the end of 2007. (Several 



governments in Europe al- 
ready provide this service.) 

Google SMS Beta. Google's 
SMS service (www. google 
.com/sms) is free, comprehen- 
sive, and amazingly helpful. 
Rather than send information 
(such as news feeds) you pre- 
authorize for delivery on 
a regular basis, Google SMS 
answers your queries on de- 
mand. The service was still in 
beta at press time, and some 
users (in online forums and 
blogs) had reported stability 
problems that were affecting 
delivery times. (Content de- 
livery times ranged from five 

seconds to 30 minutes in the 

comments.) Nevertheless, we 
expect stability to have improved by the 
time you read this. 

To use Google SMS, all you do is 
send a text message with a recogniz- 
able query to 46645 (GOOGL). Google 
will return a message with the results. 
Queries can be quite wide in scope. 
For example, a query of John Doe San 
Antonio will return published phone 
and address listings for John Does in 
San Antonio. Type From JFK to 100 
Park Avenue New York NY and you'll 
receive driving directions from JFK air- 
port to the street address. Google SMS 
can also give you weather conditions, 
business listings, currency conversions, 
and more. A list of possibilities (and 
some helpful information if your 



Google 



Google Short Message Service (SMS) US 



■ : ■'. ■■.:-,..: 




Weather: 

Dallas,TX 

84F,Clear 

Wind:SW5mph 

Hum:551f, 

F:78-102F,Clear 

Sa:73-92F, Chance of 

Showers 

S u:72 -93 F, Mostly Sunny 

M:73-93F,Mostly Sunny 



. Phonebook : 



. Movies : ice ag_ ; 
> Weather : 

::'-:- • ',■:,'. ;:-■; 
. Q&A: 

■ -h, " -: 

■ ;:. ■ •■ 
i Fro ogle : 
i Zip code : 
i Area code : 650 
. Calculator: 



SMS Quick Start 

1. Start a new text n 
and type in your sea 

2. Send 



'help' as 

■>■■■ 



--. ■ .:■: ' : ' h 



Related Mobile Links: 

Google Mobile Home 
Google Mobile Search 
■ Web Search 
■ 
■ 
■ 
(Beta) 

" IS (Beta) 
•■ ■ . ■■, . '■ 




Many services, such as Google SMS Beta, have helpful demo pages that let you see how the 
alert system works before you sign up. 



Google's Alerts service is less about 
delivering ready-made content and more 
about helping you navigate, find people, 
and make decisions when you travel. 

queries are not getting a response) is 
on the site, as well. Google, not an 
array of content providers, supplies 
all its services. 

Wireless weather. The Weather 
Channel (www.weather.com/mobile) 
will send you the local, 36-hour fore- 
cast of your choice on a daily basis for 
$2.99 per month. You can also receive 
alerts on demand for 30 cents per fore- 
cast. Type now plus a ZIP code and 
send the message to 42278 (4CAST), 
and Weather Channel will deliver cur- 
rent weather conditions to your phone. 
Change the message, and Weather 
Channel will deliver pollen (type 
pollen and a ZIP code), marine (type 
sea and a ZIP code), major airport 
delay (type air and the airport code), or 
home team baseball forecast (type ball 
and a team name) alerts for anywhere 
in the United States. 

Reuters Mobile News Service. At 
your request, the Reuters News Service 
(reuters.m-qube.com/reuters) will send 
you three to five free text messages per 
week covering top news items, market 
news, or business news. For top news, 
text the word top to 25669 (2KNOW). 



PCToday / October 2006 29 



Communications 



For business or market news, replace top 
with biz or mkt, respectively. To stop 
the service, text stop to 25669. While at 
the Reuters site, you can also download 
the Reuters ringtone and assign it to 
alerts so you will know when a new 
alert arrives. 

AvantGo. If Yahoo!'s offering is 
broad, AvantGo's (my.avantgo.com) is 
mind boggling. With this free service, 
you can receive alerts (or request 
on-demand updates) on your smart- 
phone from hundreds of content pro- 
viders. Channels range from finance 
news media to airlines (flight delays 
and schedules, fare sales). Some of 
the channels are interactive. For ex- 
ample, sign up for the Westin Workout 
TRACKER and you can keep tabs on 
your workouts, record exercises, and 
view your workout history whether 
you are on the road or at your home 
gym. You can also create your own 



channels or sync content from any Web 
site (including your own or your com- 
pany's). Some of AvantGo's content 
providers use images in their messages, 
so you'll want the ability to receive 
MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) 
as well as (or instead of) SMS. 

MSN Alerts. Like AvantGo, Microsoft 
has contracted with a number of content 
providers to deliver alerts through its free, 
MSN Alerts service (alerts.msn.com). 
With MSN Alerts, you can request infor- 
mation from more than two dozen pro- 
viders, ranging from job postings (from 
CareerBuilder.com) and hot deal alerts 
(Expedia) to terrorism and emergency 
alerts (Terralert.com). 

Perhaps even more appealingly for 
travelers, you can sign up for incident 
alerts through MSN Carpoint, which 
can notify you (during specific times 
you request) of traffic problems in your 
home city or the metro areas of your 




O 



a 



Bush laments poor Republican 
relations with blacks 
Thu Jul 20, 2006 6:17 PM ET 
WASHINGTON [Reuters) - President 
George W, Bush lamented the poor 
relationship between blacks and his 
Republican Party on Thursday in his first 
address to America's leading civil rights 
organization since taking office in 2001. 

Stocks drop as Dell eclipses Microsoft 

strength 

Fri Jul 21. 2006 12:00 PM ET 

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell 

on Friday after a profit warning from 

personal computer maker Dell Inc. 

shattered the short-lived enthusiasm 



* © ^ J* ra O A m 



Weather Channel can send you a 36-hour 
forecast (for a monthly fee) or send you 
weather, pollen, airport, marine, or sports 
alerts on demand (30 cents each). 



International news service Reuters can send 
you headline, business, or market news. 



choice. You can also request alerts 
reminding you of appointments and 
special events on your MSN Calendar. 
You'll need an MSN /Hotmail account 
to sign up; some alerts require a paid 
subscription to MSN, while others 
require you to pay the provider a 
small fee. 

No travel surprises. If you'd like to 
receive alerts on problems and changes 
that might affect your travel schedule, 
sign up for OrbitzTLC Alerts (www 
.orbitz.com). Up to five hours before 
your departure time, Orbitz will alert 
you and /or up to six other individuals 
of any schedule or gate changes and 
departure or arrival delays for flights 
you book through Orbitz. (Orbitz will 
also tip you off to extraordinary issues, 
such as subway or hotel strikes, at your 
destination, although this is not a listed 
service.) The advantage here is that you 
don't have to log into any system to 
add or update airport information be- 
fore you travel. When you book the 
flight, Orbitz takes the information 
straight from your itinerary. 

Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) 
offers a similar service, but it only ad- 
vises of problems as soon as three hours 
before a flight. However, Travelocity 
will also send you an itinerary reminder 
as much as one day before you leave. 
(This is handy for reference if you mis- 
place your paperwork.) 

Be Alert 

In addition to the providers we men- 
tioned here, you may uncover others. Be 
watchful of providers that are not major 
companies because they may sell your 
phone number or text message spam- 
mers. (Or engage in the activity them- 
selves.) Nevertheless, be on the lookout 
for helpful new services. Text message 
alerting is even bigger overseas than in 
the United States. It may not be long be- 
fore you can summon assistance (such as 
asking for toilet paper) like passengers 
in Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport can 
do, or transfer funds to a friend or 
family member via SMS. (A group of 
Australian schoolchildren are currently 
testing this new technology.) 

by Jennifer Farwell 



30 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Communications 




Plug Your V Into USB 

Call Any Phone Over The Internet With A V-Phone 



Vonage V-Phone 

$39.99 • www.vonage.com 



The world is your telephone. If 
you tend to rack up cell phone 
minutes, yet you carry a laptop or 
you're near Windows computers most 
of the time, the V-Phone may save you 
big bucks. 

Next time you need to make a call, 
leave your cell phone in your pocket. 
Instead, plug your V-Phone into a Win- 
dows 98SE/2000/Me/XP system's USB 
port, and a headphone/microphone 
headset into the side of the V-Phone. The 
PC will need a broadband connection; 
dial-up won't be fast enough 

The V-Phone looks like a USB drive 
because it is: A 256MB model will give 
you about 233MB of storage space. The 
neat part is that software preloaded on 
the V-Phone will automatically run, let- 
ting you make cheap calls to virtually 
any phone around the world. If your 
V-Phone isn't plugged in when someone 
calls you at its number, the V-Phone's 
voicemail (accessible from any phone) 
will take the message. Convenient fea- 
tures include call and 911 forwarding, an 
address book, conference calling, caller 
ID, call waiting, and many others. 

Calling plans start at $14.99 per 
month plus fees and tax, and there's an 
activation fee of $29.99 minus a $20 in- 
stant rebate in effect at this writing. 
International calls may cost extra. One 
major drawback is that if you're already 
a Vonage customer, you can't simply use 
the V-Phone with your existing account 
and phone number. You'd have to pay 
for a second account (no discount) and 
have a second phone number, just as if 
you were Joe Schmo instead of a loyal 
customer. However, when you sign up, 
you can choose your own number and 
area code if it's available. 



Our V-Phone didn't work at all on one 
WinXP Pro system, causing numerous 
hangs that required hard resets and 
eventually System Restore to correct. 
On another WinXP Pro PC, however, the 
V-Phone worked fine — that is, the USB 
drive part worked. Its earbud headset 
was uncomfortable and the microphone 
didn't function. We finally succeeded by 
plugging a third-party headset directly 
into the PC's sound card and adjusting 
WinXP's Sounds And Audio Devices set- 
tings in the Control Panel. As expected, 
we had to tell our firewall to allow the 
V-Phone to send and receive data. 

Audio quality varied from very clear 
to a little syrupy in our calls to and from 
a regular landline, a cell phone, and a 
Cisco VoIP phone. There were a few 
dropouts over our 1.2Mbps DSL con- 
nection, but every call was intelligible. 
Vonage's software was a breeze to use. It 
even let us dial using our keyboard's 
number pad and ENTER key. To make 
incoming calls to our V-Phone from an- 
other line, we had to dial 1 and the area 
code before the V-Phone's number. 

Don't judge the V-Phone by the has- 
sles we encountered, as our unit was 
an early one shipped out on the launch 
date. Vonage could easily bundle a bet- 
ter headset with future models. Also, 
the company automatically updated our 
V-Phone's software the first time it con- 
nected to Vonage's network, so bugs may 
be fixed in the background without re- 
quiring the user to do anything. 

Given time to work out the kinks, and 
perhaps make the V-Phone a little more 
tempting to its existing customer base 
with a discount and /or some account 
flexibility, Vonage could very well have 
a winner. by Marty Sems 



1 



it 




It looks like a 
USB drive— 
and it is— 
but the 
V-Phone is 
also a clever 
Internet 
phone 
adapter. 



PCToday / October 2006 31 



Featured Articles 




NOKIA 

SMARTPHQN ES 




Prepare For The Finnish Invasion 



Admit it. At some point 
you've owned a Nokia cell 
phone; or if you haven't, 
you know someone who 
has. Nokia has long been 
top dog in the worldwide mobile 
phone market and remains No. 1 de- 
spite stiff competition from Motorola. 



Indeed, Motorola is gaining steam 
thanks in large part to its ultra-stylish 
RAZR line; according to iSuppli, the 
company's market share showed a 
2.6% gain between Q4 2005 and Ql 
2006. But Motorola's 21% share still 
lags behind Nokia's 34.1%. In the 
United States, however, Nokia's sway 



is felt mainly in the cell phone arena. 
Converged devices (aka smartphones — 
mobile phones with email and PDA- 
like features) are a different story. But 
as you're about to see, Nokia is quietly 
gearing up to take the American smart- 
phone market by storm. 

by Calvin Clinchard and Blaine A. Flamig 



Why Don't You Have A Nokia Smartphone? 



■ n the world at large Nokia 



is king of the smartphone, 
with an incredible 55% mar- 
ket share as of Ql 2006 ac- 
cording to Canalys. And 
according to Nokia's own 
calculations, the company 
has shipped well over 50 
million devices running its 
most popular platform for 
smartphones: S60. So why is 
it that U.S. smartphone users 
are far more familiar with 
BlackBerry and Palm OS 
devices than with Nokia 
smartphones running the 
market-leading Symbian 
OS? (According to Gartner, 
BlackBerry and Palm each 
have single-digit percentages 
of the global market share; 
by contrast, in U.S. organiza- 
tions using smartphones 
Palm is No. 1, with Search 
MobileComputing.com 



reporting that 36% choose 
Palm.) Answers to this ques- 
tion can be complex, but for 
the most part the reasons 
boil down to geography and 
the regional spread of cel- 
lular networks. 

Nokia, headquartered in 
Finland, has traditionally 
had its European and Asian 
neighbors chiefly in mind. 
In those regions mobile 
technology has been more 
popular than in the states, 
and as a result European 
and Asian operators have 
pushed more aggressively 
toward 3G (third genera- 
tion) and 3.5G cellular tech- 
nologies such as UMTS 
(Universal Mobile Telecom- 
munications System) and 
HSDPA (High-Speed Down- 
load Packet Access). So 
while U.S. users with 2G 



phones using CDMA (Code- 
Division Multiple Access) 
have been experiencing 
jalopy-like data transfer 
rates of 14.4Kbps, UMTS 
users have zipped along at 
384Kbps. Nokia has de- 
signed its smartphones pri- 
marily for the higher-speed 
networks available overseas. 
The cellular divide be- 
tween the United States and 
the rest of the world, how- 
ever, is beginning to disap- 
pear. Not long ago most U.S. 
users had CDMA phones 
that simply wouldn't work 
in the rest of the world. 
Business travelers heading 
to Europe had to leave their 
CDMA phones behind in 
favor of phones using the 
GSM (Global System for 
Mobile Communications) 
networks available at their 



destination. Now GSM net- 
works are available in the 
United States, and globe- 
trotters based in the states 
can easily purchase a go- 
anywhere GSM phone. Even 
UMTS is now available 
through Cingular, but net- 
work availability is limited 
to a few cities. 

As for speed, people 
using Sprint's and Verizon's 
EVDO (Evolution Data Opti- 
mized) networks are begin- 
ning to see what 3G is all 
about as they enjoy data 
transfer rates of 300 to 
600Kbps. And Cingular 
plans to launch an HSDPA 
with speeds at least compa- 
rable to EVDO's by the end 
of 2006. Cingular's EDGE 
(Enhanced Data for GSM 
Evolution) is technically 3G, 
but real-world speeds aren't 



32 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Featured Articles 




Forward Thinking 



Because Nokia is the world's largest 
mobile phone manufacturer, it can 
afford to experiment. Here are some 
ways Nokia is pushing the envelope: 

Business class. In the business 
segment Nokia has done so with the 



Communicator, which is an 
email-centric device that flips open 
for a fuller-than-BlackBerry-sized 
QWERTY keyboard and a wide, nar- 
row screen. Nokia is also betting big 
on Wi-Fi. 



much faster than those of a 
recent PC's dial-up modem; 
class 10 EDGE from Cingular 
and T-Mobile offers speeds 
three to four times faster. 

Wi-Fi is emerging as a non- 
cellular wild card, offering 
ubiquity and speed and there- 
by making WLAN (wireless 
local-area network) support 
an attractive feature in the 
industry's newest smart- 
phones. So as the cellular 
divide narrows and Wi-Fi be- 
comes both more popular and 
more widely available in the 
United States, Nokia's interest 
in the region grows. 



The E61, a member of Nokia's upcoming 
Eseries devices, is especially noteworthy for 
its QWERTY keyboard layout. It is the first 
device to compete directly with BlackBerrys 
and Palm Treos in terms of style. 




The Nokia 

9500 Communicator is designed for the enter- 
prise, with email and an innovative sideways 
flip design that inches the smartphone ever 
closer to becoming a notebook replacement. 

Wireless options. The company re- 
cently began testing a technology that lets 
phones switch seamlessly between cel- 
lular (in this case GSM, GPRS [General 
Packet Radio Service], and UMTS) and 
802.11b/g wireless networks. The goal is 
to give users the freedom to wander 
wherever they want and never drop a 
voice or data connection. Nokia's new 770 
Internet Tablet is yet another intriguing 
wireless experiment. 

VoIP permitted. Rather than worry 
about how VoIP (Voice over Internet 
Protocol) calling might threaten its cell 
phone business, Nokia is embracing the 
technology and working with devel- 
opers wishing to put VoIP via Wi-Fi on 
Nokia phones. 

Extra goodies. Nokia is also making 
strides toward bringing mobile TV to the 
masses, and is working on ways to offer 
interactive FM and Internet radio on S60 
phones. Folks at Nokia are pursuing all 
sorts of interesting technologies, such as 
one that would turn a mobile phone into a 
security device and one that would let a 
phone work as a universal remote control. 

PCToday / October 2006 33 



Featured Articles 



What Makes A Nokia Smartphone So Smart? 



Nokia uses three separate platforms 
for its mobile phones, all built on 
the Symbian OS, but the most promi- 
nent when it comes to smartphones is 
the S60 platform, currently in its third 
edition. Nokia's smartphones are 
uniquely smart because Nokia has 
chosen some keen ways of keeping 
them that way. For one, says Janne 



want in a Nokia phone. Building on the 
customer data it gathers, Nokia designs its 
S60 phones to be highly customizable for 
customers and operators alike and opens 
its arms to third-party developers, all with 
the goal of making its smartphones attrac- 
tive and functional for a variety of users. 

Nokia wants to extend its smartphone 
reach further into the American market, 




The Nokia E70, 

still "expected soon" in the 

United States, features a keyboard that 

BlackBerry thumb sufferers might find more pleasing. When closed it 

includes a standard numeric mobile phone pad; when opened a QWERTY 

keypad extends out to the sides, hugging the screen in the center. 



Laiho, head of applications marketing 
for Forum Nokia (Nokia's developer 
organization), Nokia pays attention to 
its customers, conducting extensive 
surveys to keep an eye on exactly what 
those customers like, don't like, and 




including organizations small and large. 
In the United States, "Nokia obviously has 
volume on the consumer side/' says Brad 
Brockhaug, senior director of business de- 
velopment and channels for Forum Nokia, 
"but enterprise is very important, and is 
becoming more important as [Nokia] 
made the decision to build an enterprise 
group in the U.S." And Nokia's pursuit of 
the American market as a whole is evident 
in the opening of its first flagship retail 
U.S. store in Chicago. More Nokia stores 
are planned. Here are reasons Nokia's S60 
smartphones are worth a look: 

You're not stuck with the factory op- 
tions. Customers can personalize their 



S60 mobile phones handle multitasking in ways 
competing devices do not. With careful memory 
management and a feature that lets users switch 
quickly between running applications, S60 
phones won't forget the Web page you were 
viewing when you stopped to answer an email. 



S60 phones by changing settings and 
adding graphics to a degree not possible 
in most BlackBerry, Palm, and Windows 
Mobile devices. Operators can also cus- 
tomize S60 phones to tailor particular 
models to target audiences; Nokia's com- 
petitors also do this, but Nokia has been 
especially open to operators' needs. 

Underneath they're all alike. One ben- 
efit of Nokia's platform approach is that 
S60 phones interoperate with one another. 
If you want to ditch the model you 
bought last year, you can just transplant 
your SIM (subscriber identity module) 
card into a newer model. 

Multitask. Really. Non-S60 smart- 
phones are generally sorely lacking in the 
multitasking department, requiring that 
you go to a home page or otherwise per- 
form extra steps to go from one applica- 
tion to another. With S60 you can switch 
between multiple running apps in much 
the same way you would press ALT-TAB 
on your Windows PC to quickly move 
from one running program to another. 

Sync with the company server. No- 
kia's Enterprise Solutions business divi- 
sion licensed Microsoft's Exchange Server 
ActiveSync protocol, so Nokia's up- 
coming business-class phones will have 
the ability to synchronize data with 
Exchange Server 2003. 

Download without a PC. S60 phones 
offer OTA (over-the-air) capabilities that 
let you download many productivity ap- 
plications (not to mention ringtones and 
games) and software updates directly on 
the device. 

Experience better browsing. The re- 
cently launched Web browser for S60, 
based on Apple's Safari browser and set 
to be widely available in S60 Third 
Edition phones, lets you use the Internet 
in ways that blow the competition out of 
the water. You can, for example, search 
for text on a Web page, view full-sized 
HTML pages, access secure Web 
sites, and quickly scroll through a 
visual history of your recently vis- 
ited pages. A small red square 




34 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Featured Articles 




Although not a smartphone, Nokia's recently 
released 770 Internet Tablet will test consumers' interest in a combination portable Web 
appliance and go-anywhere multimedia player. The device offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 
connectivity, email, instant messaging, and an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed reader. 



called the MiniMap lets you select a por- 
tion of any full-sized Web page to zoom 
in on. An on-screen arrow, which you 
control using a multidirectional button on 
the phone's keypad, mimics the desktop 
browsing experience. And with Adobe's 
Macromedia FlashLite support built into 
the browser, you can even view Flash ani- 
mations on your handheld. 



Nokia's Web browser 
for S60 Third Edition 
mobile phones 
include a feature 
called MiniMap, 
which lets you 
select portions 
of full-sized 
Web pages 
and mag- 



N71 



__ ^m v «r ■ 




nify them 
for easier 
viewing. 



Go ahead, take a snapshot. And 
send it. If you want to send someone a 
photo or video you just shot with your 
mobile phone's built-in camera, fire 
away. The phones support MMS 
(Multimedia Messaging Service) in ad- 
dition to SMS (Short Message Service) 
text-messaging. Competitors' smart- 
phones also offer this feature, but S60 
phones make it easy. 

Nokia has an open-door 
policy. Nokia encourages 
other companies to create 
software for its S60 plat- 
form. To that end its Fo- 
rum Nokia helps synchronize 
Nokia's development process 
with those of other developers. 
As a result, Nokia's phones and 
plenty of software designed to 
run on the phones reach the mar- 
ket simultaneously. 

S60 transcends Nokia devices. 
Along the lines of opening doors, 
Nokia licenses its S60 platform to other 
manufacturers. A Nokia-Microsoft 
comparison doesn't quite match up be- 
cause Nokia manufactures handsets 
but Microsoft doesn't make PCs, but a 
similar kind of savvy about software's 
importance is at play with both compa- 
nies. Although not available in the 
United States, you can now find de- 
vices from Lenovo, Panasonic, and 
Samsung running S60. 



How Other 
Smartphones Compare 

In case you're wondering how Nokia's 
smartphones stack up with the Black- 
Berry, Palm OS, and Windows Mobile 
devices more common in the United 
States, read on. We compared the specifi- 
cations and features of four models, one 
for each OS or platform: Research In 
Motion's BlackBerry 7130e (running 
BlackBerry version 4.1), Palm's Treo 700p 
(running Palm OS version 5.4.9), HP's 
iPAQ hw6500 (running Windows Mobile 
5), and Nokia's E70 (running the S60 plat- 
form on Symbian 9.1). 

Basics 

Aesthetically, these four smartphones 
share a similar, oversized-candy bar de- 
sign, although the E70's flip-keyboard, 
butterfly-like layout is definitely unique 
here. When open, the flip design reveals 
a full QWERTY keyboard to easily 
thumb type. The E70's screen is a bit 
smallish at 2.1 inches, but it supports a 
352 x 416 resolution, which is tops here. 
Trailing just slightly is the Treo 700p's 
2.5-inch, 320 x 320 screen. The Black- 
Berry 7130e's display is reportedly 
bright and crisp, and RIM includes 
SureType technology, which aims to 
provide better typing accuracy. For on- 
board memory, HP's iPAQ hw6515 
Mobile Messenger (56MB available) and 
the Treo 700p (60MB available) each give 
you 128MB, besting the E70's 75MB and 
the 7130e's 64MB of Flash/16MB of 
SRAM (static random-access memory). 
The E70 supports miniSD expansion 
cards (a 64MB card is included); the 
700p MMC/SD/SDIO cards; and the 
hw6515 SD/miniSD cards. Each smart- 
phone offers a variation of a recharge- 
able Li-Ion battery for power, with the 
E70 claiming 7.30 hours of talk time, fol- 
lowed by the Treo's 4.5 hours of talk and 
300 hours of claimed standby time. 

Connectivity 

The key feature here is EVDO connec- 
tivity. The BlackBerry 7130e and Treo 
700p support it; the E70 and hw6515 



PCToday / October 2006 35 



Featured Articles 



don't. EVDO offers broadband-like 
speeds (reportedly up to 700Kbps trans- 
fers), but does so wirelessly. U.S. cov- 
erage is still limited, with only Verizon 
Wireless and Sprint offering it as of this 
writing, and actual speeds will vary. 
Additionally, you can connect the 7130e 
(via a tethered connection) and 700p (via 
USB cable or Bluetooth) to your note- 
book and use each as a modem to tap 
into that EVDO speed. 

The E70 offers GSM (900/1,800/1,900) 
and speedy 3G (WCDMA [Wideband 
CDMA]) coverage, plus it's the only 
device here to offer built-in Wi-Fi 
(802.11g/e/i) support. The E70 also 
gives you USB 2.0, Bluetooth, and in- 
frared connectivity for synching with a 
PC or notebook. (To date, the 700p's 
included SDIO slot doesn't support 
Palm's own Wi-Fi card.) 

The other three models here offer 
Bluetooth functions (although the Black- 
Berry's is limited), and the hw6515 
also includes infrared connectivity and 




BlackBerry7130e 



quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/ 
900/1,800/1,900) coverage. Also note- 
worthy is that the hw6515 is the only de- 
vice here with a built-in GPS (global 
positioning system) unit. Using GPS soft- 
ware from TomTom, the hw6515 can give 
visual and audio turn-by-turn map in- 
structions (one map of your choice is in- 
cluded), and you can buy and download 
additional maps and more over the air. 

Internet 

Obviously, the faster the Internet 
connection, the better your Web experi- 
ence. To that end, the Treo 700p and 
BlackBerry 7103e's ability to tap into 
speedy EVDO connections is a definite 
plus here. The E70's WCDMA support 
is also worth considering. For actual 
Web browsing, each device uses a dif- 
ferent browser in addition to offering 
WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) 
2.0 browsing. 

The 7130e uses the BlackBerry 
Browser, the 700p uses Blazer 4.5, the 
hw6515 uses Pocket Internet Explorer, 
and the E70 relies on the new Nokia 
Browser, eliminating reliance on using 
Opera's Mobile browser. The Nokia 
Browser is built on elements of Apple's 
WebCore and JavaScriptCore, essen- 
tially the foundation of Apple's Safari 
browser. Reportedly, Nokia Browser 
renders pages very well but has some 
trouble resizing full Web pages to fit 
the E70's screen. The browser does in- 
clude a small map-like feature that 
shows you exactly where you're at 
viewing-wise on a large Web page. 
Palm's Blazer 4.5 has beefed up 
JavaScript support and now offers 
better caching, meaning better ren- 
dering of more Web pages (especially 
those built on JavaScript) and smoother 
navigation from page to page, both for 
sites optimized for mobile and full- 
page viewing. 

Email 

This category probably holds the 
most importance for most people, espe- 
cially business users. It's also one of the 




Palm Treo 700p 



most convoluted categories in terms of 
the many acronyms, protocols, pro- 
grams, and associated features there are 
to wade through. Overall though, each 
of these devices is thorough in the email 
coverage it offers. 

If you don't own a BlackBerry al- 
ready, the brand's popularity stems 
from RIM's focus on push technology, 
meaning messages are pushed to your 
device rather than set on a server for 
you to retrieve. Beyond this, the 7130e 
also supports IM (instant messaging) 
and Microsoft Exchange, IBM's Lotus 
Domino, and Novell's Group Wise plat- 
forms. You can also access 10 POP (Post 
Office Protocol) /IMAP (Internet Mes- 
sage Access Protocol) accounts with the 
7130e and check Web-based mail ac- 
counts (including Hotmail). 

The Treo supports eight email ac- 
counts out of the box, plus it supports 



36 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Featured Articles 



P0P3/IMAP and Lotus Notes/Domino 
and GroupWise via third-party apps. 
The Treo 700p supports access to Web- 
based email (although not Hotmail) 
and includes VersaMail with built-in 
Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support 
for Exchange 2003 usage. 

Beyond the typical email features, the 
E70 offers up support for BlackBerry con- 
nectivity, plus support for Seven Always- 
On Mail, Visto, and Intellisync Wireless 
Email. The E70 also supports email data 
roaming, viewing various attachment 
types, and instant messaging. Like the 
E70, the hw6515 offers IM support, plus 
support for POP3/IMAP/SMTP (Simple 
Mail Transfer Protocol), Exchange 2003, 
and push-to-talk usage. 

Multimedia 

If a smartphone with strong multi- 
media features is your priority, look first 
to the E70 and then to the hw6515 and 
Treo 700p, which follow closely behind 
in terms of features they offer. As you 
might expect, the BlackBerry 7130e has 
limited multimedia abilities compared to 
the other models, but BlackBerry fa- 
natics will tell you that this 
isn't where the email-centric 
device shines. 

Conversely, you can use 
the E70 as an MP3 player, and 
a 2MP (1,600 x 1,200) digicam 
with 8X digital zoom is built- 
in. The E70 also captures 
MPEG-4 video at up to 352 x 
288, streams audio and video 
(via 3GPP and RealMedia), 
and can download Java games 
and apps over the air. 

The Treo 700p and iPAQ 
hw6515 each have 1.3MP 
digicams (1,280 x 1,024) built 
in, with the Treo also of- 
fering 2X digital zoom. Both 
models can capture video at 
up to 352 x 288, and the 700p 
can play back MP3s via 



HPiPAQhw6500 



Pocket Tunes 3.0 and stream audio and 
video (including live television on 
Sprint EVDO networks where avail- 
able). The hw6515 includes a 2.5mm 
stereo headphone jack and Windows 
Media Player 10 Mobile. 

Productivity 

Beyond the basic syncing, contact, 
calendar, to-do, and other PIM (per- 
sonal information manager) programs, 
these phones include an assortment of 
other apps for working on the go. If you 
work primarily in the Windows world, 
the iPAQ hw6515 is a natural starting 
point here. Among the apps HP builds 
into the hw6515 ROM and offers on CD 
are Pocket versions of Outlook, Word, 
Excel, and Internet Explorer; a photo- 
management app; GPS settings and nav- 
igation programs; and VPN Client and 
backup apps. The Treo 700p bundles 
with Documents To Go, letting you read 
and edit Word and Excel documents, as 
well as view PowerPoint and PDF files. 
(The Treo 700p , s very similar sibling, 
the 700w, runs Windows Mobile 5.0, 




thus youTl get Windows Office Mobile 
apps with that device.) The BlackBerry 
7130e lets you view Word, Excel, PDF, 
and image files but not much beyond 
this without downloading optional 
apps. The E70 includes Nokia's own PC 
Suite, giving you viewers for docu- 
ments, spreadsheets, and PDFs; a 
ZipManager to handle Zip files; editors 
for documents, spreadsheets, and pre- 
sentations; and a GPS navigation app if 
you add GPS functionality to the device. 

Pricing & Plans 

Pricing and plans obviously will fluc- 
tuate from carrier to carrier, but the fol- 
lowing information should provide at 
least some idea of what to expect. For 
example, HP sells an unlocked version 
of the iPAQ hw6515 (meaning you can 
use it overseas after meeting various re- 
quirements) for $549. The phone sells at 
Cingular Wireless for $299 with a two- 
year contract and after $150 in online 
and mail-in rebates. The BlackBerry sells 
for $549 direct and is available from 
Alltel (plans range from $29.99 to 
$199.99), NTelos ($349.99 with a two- 
year plan; $439.99 with a one-year plan), 
Sprint ($199.99 with a two-year plan), 
U.S. Cellular ($39.95 and $44.95 
plans), and Verizon ($299 with a 
two-year plan). Both Sprint and 
Verizon sell the Treo 700p for as 
low as $399 with two-year ser- 
vice plans. Pricing for the E70 
won't be determined until that 
phone and the two others in 
the E Series (E60 and E61) 
arrive in the States, but for 
comparison's sake, Nokia's 
6682, which is available 
here, is probably the most 
similar model to the E70 
and runs for $299 without 
a service plan. That phone 
is available at Cingular 
Wireless for $249 with a 
two-year plan. 



Nokia E70 



PCToday / October 2006 37 



Featured Articles 




In recent months Vista has 
drawn understandable praise 
and criticism. Microsoft is 
seeking to break with tradition 
to significantly evolve user 
processes, advance the oper- 
ating system's capabilities, and 
improve security levels by an 
order of magnitude. 

Change is always a dicey thing. No 
matter how much or how little change 
you implement, no one is satisfied. But 
Windows hasn't had a serious overhaul 
since Windows 95; so it is time for a 
change. But how different is Vista from 
Windows XP? It's not an order-of-mag- 
nitude shift away from what you al- 
ready know. The Start menu, Taskbar, 
My Computer and My Network Places 
options, as well as the Control Panel, 
Recycle Bin, Explorer folders, and all the 
bundled applets continue on in Vista, 
although some of them have new names. 
The way in which some of these tools or 



features function have changed as well, 
but in most cases for the better. 

Vista In A Nutshell 

You will see five primary changes in 
Windows with the release of Vista; in 
order of importance they are: security, 
3D graphics /video with transparency, 
networking, support for future ad- 
vances (such as 64-bit computing, new 
processors, and new application capa- 
bilities), and an extensive update of the 
bundled apps that come with Vista. 
Other improvements include an inte- 
grated Desktop search, reliability, fast 
starts and shutdowns, improved Sleep 
mode and power management, perfor- 
mance, and a complete repackaging of 
the Windows editions. 

In working to implement these goals 
Microsoft faced some tough decisions, 
especially in the security area. The soft- 
ware company also took the opportunity 
to make some breaks with the past, such 



as de-emphasizing the classic File menus. 
Vista's new user interface offers two pri- 
mary levels (Aero and Basic) depending 
on your computer's hardware configura- 
tion. Although many of the user controls 
are only mildly updated (mostly the look 
and feel), other areas, such as the settings 
and dialog boxes for configuring your 
wireless or peer network, have seen sig- 
nificant updates. 

For many Windows users the most 
profound difference might simply be the 
addition of several new bundled appli- 
cations, including Windows Defender, 
Sidebar, Meeting Space, Calendar, Photo 
Gallery, DVD Maker, Fax And Scan, 
Sync Center, Welcome Center, and a 
handful of diagnostic utilities. Bundled 
Windows apps receiving notable up- 
dates include Internet Explorer 7, 
Windows Mail (Outlook Express), 
Media Player 11, Movie Maker, Contacts 
(Address Book), Windows Easy Transfer 
(Files And Settings Transfer Wizard), 



38 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Featured Articles 



Disk Defragmenter with scheduled 
background defragmentation, and 
Backup with scheduling to local or net- 
work hard drive or optical devices. 

Safety First 

Microsoft made security its top pri- 
ority in Vista. The list of security protec- 
tions is very long and frankly somewhat 
uninteresting. The company took no half 
measures; no baby steps. Users must 
provide their own antivirus programs, 
but other than that, Microsoft delivers 
what it strongly believes will be a signif- 
icantly more secure operating system. 
Windows Defender, a welcome addition 



included very mundane tasks, such as 
placing icons on the Start menu, deleting 
icons from the Programs area of the Start 
menu, and placing Desktop icons in the 
Recycle Bin. A long list of Control Panels 
also spur the UAC prompt. Even if you're 
logged in to Vista with computer admin- 
istrator privileges, you see these prompts 
in Vista Beta 2. The idea behind UAC is 
perfectly sound, and the rationale behind 
the need for confirmation prompts is 
understandable. But the current user 
experience is not acceptable. Microsoft 
announced that it will be working to 
refine the experience for the next major 
prerelease of Vista. 



minimalist approach to plugging the 
glaring holes where competitors Firefox 
and Opera leapt ahead in recent years. 
The best change is the thorough security 
update. Firefox and Opera are relatively 
secure mostly because the bad stuff on 
the Internet just isn't aimed at either 
browser (yet). Vista's IE7 will surely be 
the most secure Web browser on the 
planet. But it will also still have that 
bull's-eye painted on its back. 

The Aero Interface 

Microsoft's new "space-age" user 
interface goes by the name of Aero. And 
marketing aside, Aero is a significant 




What's It Like & 
How Is It Different 
From What You 
Already Know? 



to Vista, has a real-time monitor that 
doesn't nag you with pop-up boxes. The 
program also offers scheduled system 
scans. Windows Firewall has been 
strengthened to provide inbound and 
outbound protection (but very few out- 
bound ports are blocked by default). 
Security Center warns you when your 
Internet security settings are too low. 

Probably the most controversial secu- 
rity feature in Vista is UAC (User Account 
Control). Microsoft changed Windows' 
login account privileges and worked hard 
to come up with processes that make it 
easier for people to work in accounts with 
fewer privileges. Because Microsoft did 
this, Vista installations will be much less 
vulnerable to malware or network intru- 
sion. At press time, Microsoft was still 
working on refining UACs, but many beta 
testers were frustrated by frequent pop- 
up boxes asking them to confirm that they 
initiated an action. Some of the actions 
that required UAC confirmation in Beta 2 



New Eye On The Web 

What's fundamentally different in IE7 
from previous versions is security. 
Running in Vista IE7 benefits from pro- 
tected-mode browsing, which prevents IE 
from modifying user or system files and 
settings. So far we've noticed no reduc- 
tion in the whole Web experience from 
protected-mode browsing; you're just a 
lot safer from spyware. The new phishing 
filter in IE7 combines a Microsoft-man- 
aged database of known fraudulent Web 
sites with a check of sites that exhibit 
suspicious behavior. When you visit a 
known phishing site, IE7 automatically 
navigates you away from the site and 
displays a warning. IE7 also provides 
basic tabbed browsing, automatic dis- 
covery of and subscription to RSS (Really 
Simple Syndication) feeds, shrink-to-fit 
Web page printing, and page zooming. 

IE7 offers well-considered, but mostly 
modest, feature updates that take a 



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Vista's Start menu is the first to 
improve on usability since Windows 95. 



PCToday / October 2006 39 



Featured Articles 




Vista's Desktop sports the new Sidebar and gadgets (on the right), and the Computer 
feature (formerly My Computer) is heavily revised. 



step up. The video subsystem in Win- 
dows hasn't received an order-of-mag- 
nitude upgrade since, well, ever. And 
that's really the big news. Vista's 
graphics setup is designed to make use 
of onboard memory and 3D processors 
of advanced graphics cards, whose 
power has previously only been utilized 
by games. The new UI is able to rapidly 
render crisp, vector-based images, 
transparency and translucent blurring, 
effortless 3D rotations, instantaneous 
scaling of images and fonts, reflections, 
shadows, live thumbnails, and several 
other effects. When you bake this new 
graphical horsepower into Windows' 
user interface, it makes for a different, 
and altogether better, user interface — so 
long as you have the hardware to sup- 
port. The main point to remember is 
that for the first time ever, these kind of 
effects are fast. You may dismiss them as 
so much eye candy, but you won't be 
looking for the off button because they 
slow things down. 

Forget about the technology for a 
second and check out some of the main 
features that Aero delivers: 

Glass-like transparency. This is hard 
to imagine without seeing it, but the 
title bars and edges of all windows in 



the Vista Aero interface are transparent 
with blurriness, as if you were looking 
through dulled privacy glass. That 
means you can see through them to the 
Desktop or other program windows 
behind them. The Windows Sidebar 
(more on this later) is fully transparent, 
and the right side of the Start menu has 
the appearance of looking through black 
glass. The net effect is subtle, but it re- 
duces the feeling of looking through a 
keyhole, especially when you have mul- 
tiple windows open. 

Live Taskbar thumbnails. Vista lets 
you pause your mouse pointer over pro- 
gram Taskbar tiles to see a live, pop-up 
thumbnail of the program's open win- 
dow. If a movie is playing in one pro- 
gram, you'll see the movie running in the 
thumbnail. (However, we couldn't get the 
movie thing to work in Vista Beta 2, but it 
did work in earlier releases.) The feature 
is useful if you're the kind of person who 
always has multiple windows open. The 
thumbnails let you visually sort through 
windows behind windows to find the 
one you want instead of trial-and-error 
Taskbar button clicking. 

Flip and Flip 3D. Microsoft has two 
more options to help you quickly find 
open windows. Vista's version of the 



ALT-TAB Task Switcher from earlier 
Windows versions shows live thumb- 
nails of all open windows and the Desk- 
top, which gives you an easy way to 
minimize all windows so you can access 
something on the Desktop. Flip 3D lines 
up all the open windows in a larger, 
left-to-right 3D stack, rotated at an angle 
that lets you see the window on top of 
the pile. To launch Flip 3D, you hold 
down the WINDOWS key and tap the 
TAB key. As you press and release the 
TAB key, Vista cycles through the win- 
dows, displaying a different window 
each time you release the key. (You can 
also use your mouse scroll wheel.) 
When you release the WINDOWS key, 
the program window at the forefront 
opens and Flip3D disappears. 

Sidebar. One other key feature is the 
Sidebar, an optional, highly config- 
urable column designed to house and 
display gadgets. Gadgets are single- 
purpose tools that deliver information, 
provide a specific functionality, or per- 
form a basic task. Examples include a 
customizable analog clock, real-time 
stock market prices, CPU and memory 
usage, and a calculator. The good news 
is that the Sidebar is extremely well 
designed. You can turn it on or off, it 
can appear above or below application 
windows, and it can roll onto the screen 
when you summon it. You can drag 
gadgets directly onto your Desktop 
and skip the Sidebar if you want. 
Microsoft really thought through the 
Sidebar design, and it's the only 
software maker (including Google and 
Apple) to get this right. The bad news is 
that at the time of this writing, there 
were only 21 gadgets available, and 
probably only half a dozen of those are 
useful to many users. Vista Sidebar 
Gadgets are also incompatible with 
Windows Live Gadgets. That part, 
Microsoft didn't think through. 

Integrated Desktop Search 

Along with Aero, an important new 
aspect of Vista's user interface is the 
integration of Desktop search features. 
Microsoft added a new background 
full-text search engine that works much 
better than its predecessor in WinXP. 



40 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Featured Articles 



The software maker has also squeezed 
Search fields into the Start menu, Ex- 
plorers, and many Microsoft programs 
and applications. Search is context-sen- 
sitive. When you enter criteria into the 
Search field in the Start Menu, for ex- 
ample, Windows aims to help you find 
and launch programs. Media Player's 
integrated Search feature looks for 
artists, albums, and songs. And if you 
conduct a search within the Control 
Panel, you can track down specific Con- 
trol Panel names. 



When you search within a folder 
window, Instant Search, Microsoft's 
name for this feature, takes on added 
functionality. In a folder the assumption 
is that you're looking for data primarily 
in your documents and media folders. 
You can name and save searches, 
launching them again and again. The 
saved searches will always display dy- 
namic search results based on all the 
latest data on your system. The Ad- 
vanced Search Pane option adds several 
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complex searches to hone your results. 
It's also possible to search your hard 
drive for other things besides user data. 
Vista's search improvements are wel- 
come changes. 

Going Hollywood 

Digital media and entertainment 
features, as in previous releases of 
Windows, have received a significant 
amount of attention in Vista. Particu- 
larly in the Vista Home Premium and 
Ultimate editions, where Windows 
Movie Maker supports high-defini- 
tion video and Windows Media Center 
supports high-definition, wide-screen 
displays. Windows Media Player 11 has 
a new network sharing feature that lets 
you share Media Libraries among the 
computers on your home network. 

Windows Movie Maker adds its 
own codec designed to help with file 
quality and size. The program also in- 
cludes new effects and transitions. 
Microsoft has added a new wizard, 
called Windows DVD Maker, which 
does just what its name implies. You 
can also transfer Movie Maker files to 
DVD Maker using the Movie Maker 
Publish menu. 

We had some difficulty with Win- 
dows Media Center, which is a little 
shaky in Beta 2. But when we finally 
got it running on our glossy-screened, 
UltraSharp Dell Inspiron E1505, con- 
ventional cable television offered sur- 
prisingly good quality even up close. 
We like the modified user interface, 
which makes even greater use of hori- 
zontal selections. 

Perhaps the best media-oriented fea- 
ture in Vista is far less ambitious than 
Windows Movie Maker or Windows 
Media Center. The new Windows Photo 
Gallery takes advantage of Vista's ex- 
cellent image-scaling capabilities to dis- 
play large, icon-type previews of 
images. Windows Photo Gallery uses 
a bottom-mounted toolbar, similar 
to the one in Windows Media Player 11, 
which is very reminiscent of consumer 
electronics controls. Left and right ar- 
rows let you navigate the gallery. The 
center button offers a full-screen slide- 
show with digital zooming, and it lets 



PCToday / October 2006 41 



Featured Articles 




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Flip 3D is literally a 
3D variation on the 
ALT-TAB Task 
Switcher that's been 
a part of Windows 
OSes almost from the 
beginning. Hold 
down the Windows 
key and press TAB 
repeatedly to cycle 
through your running 
applications to pick 
the one you want to 
bring to the front. 



The new Meeting 
Space feature in 
Vista lets two or more 
people share their 
Desktops and files 
via ad-hoc Wi-Fi 
connections. 



The Mobility Center 
Control Panel is a 
minor improvement 
for mobile computer 
users; it pulls together 
commonly accessed 
mobile-oriented 
settings in one 
convenient location. 



you mix video and images, as well. A 
custom toolbar across the top offers a 
complete list of image functions, in- 
cluding the Fix menu with tools that let 
you adjust color and exposure controls, 
crop images, and fix red-eye. 

Going Mobile 

In our opinion, Vista's mobility fea- 
tures are a little disappointing. The best 



new feature may be its ability to name 
and save wireless network configura- 
tions and specify that your computer au- 
tomatically connects to those networks 
when it detects them. And the reverse is 
true that, if you haven't expressly told 
Vista to connect to a wireless network, 
it won't just attempt to connect to the 
strongest wireless network around. The 
user interface for managing wired and 



wireless networking leaves a lot to be 
desired in Vista Beta 2, but the function- 
ality shows improvement. 

Microsoft has also significantly re- 
vised power management functionality 
and controls in Vista. In our tests Vista's 
new Sleep mode may finally bring 
Windows into the 21st century. In Sleep 
mode, your notebook turns off in about 
three or four seconds; it takes about half 
that time for your notebook to come out 
of Sleep mode. We used Sleep to turn off 
a notebook PC. We then pulled the plug 
on the unit and left it set for 24 hours. 
When we turned the notebook back on, 
the battery still showed a 100% charge. 

There are many other new power func- 
tions and settings in Vista; the most 
common are available in the Power 
Options Control Panel. It is here that you 
can control how your notebook reacts 
when you close its lid and determine 
what the power buttons do. You can 
decide after what timeframe your note- 
book enters Sleep mode and whether to 
require users to enter a password when 
the notebook comes out of that mode. 
You can also create, name, and save 
custom power-management settings. 
Advanced settings include a range of set- 
tings for hardware types and activities, in- 
cluding PCI Express, hybrid sleep, and 
media sharing. Vista's battery meter gives 
you an estimate (hour/minute) as to how 
long your battery will last. The meter also 
lets you change your power plan. 

If you use Vista, you'll see improve- 
ments in security. Vista supports WPA 
(Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 [also known 
as 802. Hi]), which makes it easier to 
configure protected wireless networks 
and makes it harder to accidentally con- 
nect to a fraudulent network. Network 
browsing, an Achilles' heel of all pre- 
vious Windows versions, is slightly 
better in Vista. Microsoft also touts im- 
provements to its corporate roaming 
features, which lets employees store and 
access user data and settings on a 
Windows server and access that infor- 
mation from multiple computers. Vista 
adds the ability to incrementally sync 
files with Microsoft's offline files and 
folders functionality, which speeds up 
the process of syncing data. 



42 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Featured Articles 



Compare Windows Vista Editions 












P orget about having an easily comp 
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Vista changes all that. In the United St 
mary flavors of Vista: Home Basic, Hon 
Enterprise, and Ultimate. The Enterpri 
to enterprises that buy into Microsoft 
agreement. The other four versions wi 
as well as on new computers. 

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Ad-hoc Wi-Fi-based sharing of files, 
presentations, workspace 


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X 


X 


X 


X 


Mobility Center Control Panel 


Partial 


Partial 


X 


X 


X 


Remote Desktop 

Remote access between Windows PCs 


Client only 


Client only 


Client and host 


Client and host 


Client and host 


Movie Maker HD 


Without HD 


X 






X 


Media Center functionality 




X 






X 


DVD Maker 




X 






X 


Themedslideshows 




X 






X 


Aero "glass-like" user interface 




X 


X 


X 


X 


Tablet PC functionality 




X 


X 


X 


X 


SideShow 

Secondary displays for mobile devices 




X 


X 


X 


X 


New premium games 

New games destined to become favorites 




X 


X 


X 


X 


Scheduled backup of user files 

To local or network-based storage 




X 


X 


X 


X 


Presentation Settings 

For mobile presentations 




X 


X 


X 


X 


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X 


X 


X 


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Creates point-in-time copies of files 
for later retrieval if lost or deleted 






X 


X 


X 


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Creates an image of your Desktop 
for easy backup and recovery 






X 


X 


X 


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X 


X 


X 


Encrypting File System 

Secures data by encrypting user files 






X 


X 


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X 


X 


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Tips, services, and software 












X 



The feature that Microsoft has talked 
the most about in relation to mobile 
computing is its Mobility Center. The 
Mobility Center is a new Control Panel 



that includes settings mobile users 
commonly need: screen brightness, 
audio volume, battery status, turn- 
ing wireless networking on and off, 



and managing external displays. The 
Brightness feature doesn't seem to 
work on the notebooks in which we 
installed Vista; we probably need to 



PCToday / October 2006 43 



Featured Articles 



install Vista-compatible drivers. The 
rest of the Mobility Center seems 
pretty ho-hum. Maybe the Mobility 
Center needs an icon in the System 
Tray or some other more prominent 
access method than Control Panel to 
make it more useful. 

Finally, Microsoft has also upgraded 
the Tablet PC features in Vista. The 



handwriting-recognition features work 
better, according to Microsoft, because 
people using the technology can target 
specific recognition errors for re- 
training. There's also a new set of ges- 
tures, called Pen Flicks, designed to 
speed up navigation and provide 
editing shortcuts. There's a new 
AutoComplete feature, as well, that 



makes input faster and easier, and 
Vista adds touchscreen support. 

When & How Much? 

When will Vista finally become 
available? When will companies begin 
adopting it? And how much will it 
cost? Unfortunately, all those questions 
shift us into educated-guess mode. 



Vista System Requirements 



Microsoft's system requirements for Vista are compli- 
cated graphically in two ways. The first instance centers 
around the varying user-interface options whose primary 
variations are Vista Aero and Vista Basic. The second com- 
plication is due to the 3D support Aero requires. 

Because of the graphics tiering, Microsoft divides the 
system requirements into two classes, Vista Capable (for 



Vista Basic) and Vista Premium Ready (for Vista Aero). This 
terminology targets new PCs, but the system requirements 
under these headings also apply to machines that might be 
upgrading to Vista. The following table shows Microsoft's 
system requirements embellished with additional data pro- 
vided by Microsoft and hands-on research. 



Specification 


Vista Capable 


Vista Premium Ready 


CPU 


800MHz modern processor (minimum) 


1GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor 


System Memory 


512MB 


1GB 


GPU (graphics pro- 
cessing unit) 


DirectX 9 capable. WDDM (Windows Display 
Driver Model) Vista driver recommended 


DirectX 9 3D graphics processor, WDDM 
driver, supports Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware, 
supports color depth to 32 bits per pixel 


Graphics Memory 


Not specified; estimated 32MB 


128MB (64MB adequate to support a single 
monitor displaying less than 1,310,720 pixels) 


HDD (hard disk drive) 


Not specified, estimated 30GB 


40GB 


HDD free space 


Not specified, estimated 15GB 


15GB 


Optical Drive 


Not specified, DVD recommended 


DVD-ROM drive 


Audio 


Not specified 


Audio output capability 


Internet 


Not specified 


Internet access capability 





There are a few items we should clarify to make the ac- 
companying Vista System Requirements chart understand- 
able. For instance, don't expect Vista to run well if you have 
an average 850MHz Pentium III system with 512MB of RAM. 
Chances are your video hardware will not do Vista Basic jus- 
tice. Tests run on systems using 850MHz or 1.2GHz Pentium 
Ills did not elicit positive user experiences. 

To upgrade to Vista, whether for Vista Basic or Vista 
Aero, we recommend the following minimum system specs: 
a Pentium IV, Centrino, or mobile Pentium M (or compat- 
ible) CPU running at 1.5GHz; 512MB of RAM; DirectX 9-class 
video hardware with at least 64MB of video memory; and a 
DVD drive. For upgrade installations you should have at 
least 20GB of free hard drive space. Prerelease builds to date 
specify that Vista requires the NTFS file system, at least on 
clean installations. 

By the time Vista ships, new Windows PC hardware 
should display the Vista Capable or the Vista Premium 



Ready badge, indicating whether it's ready to run Aero. But 
if you're buying new hardware in advance of Vista's release, 
and you want to ensure the hardware is compatible with 
Aero, pay special attention to the GPU (graphics processing 
unit) specs for Vista Premium Ready in the accompanying 
table. Your graphics hardware must support Pixel Shader 
2.0. ATI and Nvidia make video cards that support Pixel 
Shader 2.0, but their cards haven't been available for quite 
some time. Both companies make it fairly easy to purchase 
Vista Premium Ready video add-ons, but it may be more dif- 
ficult to determine whether the video circuitry in your note- 
book can handle Vista Aero. 

Microsoft offers the Vista Upgrade Advisor beta, a pro- 
gram you can download and run on your Widows XP com- 
puter to determine whether your system's hardware will 
support Vista, Vista Basic, or Vista Aero. You can find 
the upgrade advisor on the Vista Get Ready site (www 
.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready). 



44 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Featured Articles 




I i Q MM ' 



Security essentials 

To help protect your computer, make : 



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Firewall 

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Vista's Security 
Center adds moni- 
tors for antispyware 
protection (mal- 
ware) and the ability 
to watch whether 
the controversial 
new User Account 
Control functionality 
is enabled. 



Photo Gallery lets 
you rapidly scale 
image size, point at 
an image to get a 
larger preview, and 
make fine adjust- 
ments to photos 
by correcting color 
balance or elimi- 
nating red-eye. 



The new DVD 
Maker tool, 
included in some 
versions of Vista, 
is a very basic 
wizard that walks 
you step-by-step 
through the process 
of burning a DVD. 



At this writing, Microsoft was still 
saying that the Enterprise and Business 
versions of Vista would become avail- 
able to volume-licensing business 
customers sometime in November. 
Microsoft also reported that Vista would 
ship to stores and be available from PC 



makers online and in stores sometime in 
January 2007. 

It appears, though, that Microsoft 
may have pushed back the internal 
target date of the next prerelease ver- 
sion of the OS, Release Candidate 1, 
by four to six weeks. If everything 



goes well, and assuming that Micro- 
soft's Release Candidate 2 is the last 
widespread prerelease version of Vista, 
that delay will probably not change 
the stated ship dates. But if some large 
problem crops up requiring signifi- 
cant development time, Microsoft might 
have to bump the ship dates again. 
Because the software giant is already 
missing the holiday selling season 
with its consumer releases, slipping one 
or two more months into the first 
quarter of 2007 is not out of the realm 
of possibility. 

It's unlikely that most companies 
will adopt Vista quickly. That's almost 
always the case with a new version of 
Windows, but it may be especially true 
with Vista. But make no mistake, this 
is still a very large upgrade of the Win- 
dows OS and it has specific hardware 
needs. Most companies will likely in- 
stall Vista on a few test machines and 
work with it to get to know it, but 
they're unlikely to order new Vista 
machines or upgrade existing hardware 
in great numbers. There is, however, 
one aspect of Vista that could entice 
some organizations to upgrade to Vista 
quickly: security. Any company with 
above-average security concerns might 
jump in with both feet by next summer. 
Many other companies will probably 
wait until 2008 and beyond. 

Our guesses about price come down 
to one key point: Microsoft has never 
released a version of Windows that's 
tantamount to the Vista Ultimate Edi- 
tion. Vista Ultimate contains all the 
features of the other Vista versions. 
The program is designed to appeal to 
power users and small-business people 
who want one PC to handle their busi- 
ness and leisure pursuits. We have to 
figure that Ultimate will be more ex- 
pensive than WinXP Professional, 
probably by as much as $30 to $50. By 
the same token, Vista Basic might con- 
ceivably cost less than WinXP Home 
Edition, although that seems far less 
certain. We'll have to wait for when 
Microsoft decides to announce pricing, 
which might not be until right before it 
ships Vista. 



PCToday / October 2006 45 



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PC Today Online 



How To 
Get Rid Of . 



You didn't mean to, but somehow 
you managed to download mal- 
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Log in to PCToday.com. Then click 
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Once in the Tech Support Center, 
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Click the link for the item you are 
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Subscribers — Make sure to add these 
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PCToday / October 2006 47 



Multitasking 



Power Tips 



Battery & Power Management Tips For Windows Mobile Devices 

In spite of all its advantages, one scary thing about carrying a handheld device is its reliance on power to do its job — especially 
when you're stuck somewhere without a power outlet or an adapter. Device manufacturers thought ahead for those who 
forget to charge their devices by adding a backup battery, but even backups don't last forever. Ensure that you get the most out 
of your battery without needlessly draining its energy. 

by Meryl K. Evans 




Check Battery Status 

When you're away from the Windows Mobile 
device's home computer and cradle for some 
time, check your device's battery life so that you 
know when conservation measures are neces- 
sary. Find out the status by tapping Start, 
Settings, and Power. The Battery tab shows the 
main battery used by the device, the battery's 
status, and the status of the backup battery. 




Processor Tab 

Like Standby, the Processor tab only appears 
on specific devices. If yours has it, you can select 
Maximum Performance, PowerSave, or Auto to 
control how much power your device consumes. 
PowerSave uses the least amount of power. Auto 
automatically adjusts the CPU speed based on the 
system status. Maximum Performance uses the 
most power of the three settings. 




Prolong The 
Battery's Life 

Your device's default 
power settings might cause 
your battery to drain faster 
than necessary, so tweak 
them to optimize your bat- 
tery's life. Because power 
and brightness settings vary 
by manufacturer, only some 
devices include a standby 
mode. When a device goes 
on standby, it uses up reserved battery power and you can't turn it on until 
the device gets charged. 

Set up standby by tapping the Standby tab in Power settings. Select the 
period of time you want the device to go on standby. For example, if you se- 
lect 24 hours, the device goes into standby when there's 24 hours of battery 
left. The device still continues to use a little power when it's turned off, so 
try to stop using the device when low on power. For this reason, devices 
that haven't been used for a long time might completely drain the battery 
and lose all data. 

Higher brightness settings sap more power, so set them as low as 
possible. You can adjust the brightness by tapping Start, Settings, and 
then Brightness. 

The Brightness and Power Settings screens allow you to select how much 
device inactivity time should past before the device turns itself off or dims 
the backlight. The shorter amount of time assigned, the longer the battery's 
life lasts. 

The Beam Receive function also consumes power because the device 
stays alert for a signal. If you're not sending or receiving infrared beams, 
turn Beam Receive off by tapping Beam from the Settings menu. Make sure 
that the checkbox is deselected. 

Avoid needlessly storing your device in its cradle to ensure your battery 
stays healthy for the longest time possible. In fact, don't charge the battery 
until the power is below the 50%. You can still regularly back up your de- 
vice with over a 50% charge, but just be sure to take it out of the cradle once 
the backup is complete. 



48 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 




Multitasking 



UE\NSBRIEF- 




Power & Brightness Shortcuts 

While you change the settings for Brightness, you can 
quickly access the power settings by clicking on "power" 
that appears at the bottom of every Brightness settings 
tabbed page. Power settings provide Brightness and 
Beam links on the bottom of its window in every tab. 
Click the links to adjust settings as needed. 



When Your Device Won't Activate 

As mentioned before, you might need to recharge the 
battery if you haven't used the device in a long time. If that 
doesn't work, it could be the battery needs to be replaced. 
Depending on the battery, you might be able to find one at 
an electronics store; otherwise, go to the manufacturer's 
Web site for information on battery replacements. 

If your device remains dead despite the swapping in of several new batteries, then 
the battery isn't the likely cause. It could be the power button is broken. Most devices 
turn on if you press the other buttons, so try that. Try a soft reset if you still can't wake 
it. Should that fail, do a hard reset — but remember the data is erased during a hard 
reset, but the data may be gone anyway. Check your device's manual for steps on how 
to perform soft and hard resets. 



■ 




Use Your Laptop To Charge 
The Device 

You may not have time to order an 
adapter before going on a trip. You can 
work around this if you have a laptop. 
If your laptop isn't the primary com- 
puter that contains ActiveSync to sync 
with your device, install it. Then you 
can connect the cradle to the laptop 
and put the device in the cradle to 
charge up. 




Exercise The Battery 

As you insert a rechargeable bat- 
tery for the first time, charge it fully 
before using the device. Experts sug- 
gest completely charging the device 
and then running down the battery 
two to four times to maximize the 
battery's capacity. 

Make an effort to use your device 
every other week to keep the battery's 
"motor running." Anytime you go 
longer than two weeks without using 
the device, break in the battery as you 
would a new one. 



j 




4 



4 

! 



How Microsoft 
& Yahoo! 
Became Buddies 

In July, Yahoo! and Microsoft 
began public beta testing of 
their joint effort to link instant 
messaging products. With this 
partnership users of Windows 
Live Messenger (the next gener- 
ation of MSN Messenger) and 
Yahoo! Messenger with Voice 
can communicate with each 
other, add contacts from both 
services, and more. 

Terrell Karsten, spokesperson 
for Yahoo! says, "In the coming 
months, all our users worldwide 
will have the ability to use the 
feature. Within just weeks of 
launching the limited beta, we 
have millions of users from both 
Yahoo! and Microsoft taking ad- 
vantage of the feature." 

According to May 2006 fig- 
ures from ComScore Media 
Metrics, worldwide usage of IM 
products was about 203.9 mil- 
lion for MSN and 77.8 million 
for Yahoo! Messenger. For de- 
tails about beta testing, which is 
currently available in the United 
States and more than 15 inter- 
national markets, go to mes 
senger.yahoo.com (Yahoo!) or 
ideas.live.com (MSN). 

by Carmen Carmack 



; 



PCToday / October 2006 49 



Multitasking 



A Palm With A View 

Change Themes, Views & Colors On Your Palm OS Device 

Looking to change your Palm's tired style, or perhaps to disguise it for Halloween? Palm's built-in themes do little except to 
change the colors, but you have other options for adjusting the look and feel of your device and its contents. 

by Meryl K. Evans 




Switch To A Larger Font 

Sometimes tired eyes need a lift or 
you simply prefer large fonts. You can 
increase the font in the built-in applica- 
tions including To Do, Contacts, Memo, 
and Tasks. You may have other applica- 
tions in which you can modify the font 
type and font size. 

Another option is to download a 
third-party application like Fonts40S5, 
which comes with 26 font sets compat- 
ible with most modern PalmOS-based 
devices and retails for $12.90. You can 
find this on software.palm.com along 
with FontSmoother, an application that 
turns jagged edges into smoother and 
more readable text. The tool is compat- 
ible with Fonts40S5 and sells for $12.95. 
TealPoint Software TealMagnify Plus 
(www.tealpoint.com) has a pop-up mag- 
nifying glass for enlarging a selected 
area on your Palm screen. TealMagnify's 
retail price is $14.95. 




Skin Palm Desktop & Companion 

Both Palm Desktop and the Palm device 
come with multiple color themes. However, 
neither is exciting because all they do is 
change the color. They don't change the 
styles or icons. But to switch colors, open 
Palm Desktop, click Tools and then Options 
and select the Themes tab. Select a color, 
and the screen immediately changes. Keep 
clicking until you find a match and then click OK to make the change. 

On the handheld, tap Preferences on the Home screen and then tap Color 
Theme. The colors instantly change as you tap each one. If you want to give your 
Palm's screen a complete makeover, plenty of third party themes and launchers 
are available at Palm Software Connection, Palmgear.com, and Handango.com. A 
launcher typically consists of menus, shortcuts, and windows for launching appli- 
cations. Such applications vary in features, but example features allow you to 
change the wallpaper, customize menus, and modify icons. 



Put A Face With The Name 

Depending on your device, you can add 
color to Contacts with JPEG or bitmap 
photos. To see if your device can display con- 
tact photos, tap a contact and edit. If you see 
"No Image" or "Picture" on the edit page, 
then your device supports photos. If not, you 
may have the Photos application on the CD that came with your device. Insert the 
CD and select the option for other software or software essentials. Find out if your 
device comes with a photo viewer by going to kb.palm.com (Palm's knowledge li- 
brary), entering 35637 in the Search By Solution ID field, then clicking Go. 

On both your device and Desktop, you can click the picture icon to add a photo. 
Pick the person's photo from the pop-up menu, or take a picture of the person with 
your built-in camera. If the photo is smaller than 88 x 88 pixels, the photo is en- 
larged to fit the space and will look blurry. Many free image editor applications are 
available online, letting you crop, enlarge or reduce your images to the right size. 




50 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Multitasking 




Palm Desktop Menu 

As you get comfortable with the Palm and its 
desktop companion, you may prefer to adjust the 
size of the icons in your application list. In Palm 
Desktop, right click the left side, where the applica- 
tion menu is located, and select your preferred op- 
tion. The right-click menu also provides a Customize option. You can pick the 
applications you want to appear in the menu and deselect those you don't want to 
show up. You can also change the order of the items that appear in the list. 



Handheld Menu 

You can swap between list and icon view on your 
device's menus for all categories. Tap Menu and then 
Preferences. Next to View By, select List or Icon de- 
pending upon your preference. Also in Preferences is 
the option to Remember Last Category. If the option 
isn't selected, anytime you return to the Home 

window, the All category list appears. When Remember Last Category is selected, youTl 

see the last category you selected whenever you return home. 



Switch Contact Views 

In Contacts, you have the option of viewing your 
contacts in a list, business card style, as icons, or 
with contact photos. To switch, simply click the 
tabs at the bottom of the Contacts page. The 
Contacts Photos tab lets you quickly select, remove, 
and export photos. Just right-click the contact to access a menu with photo options, as 
well as others such as cut, copy, and delete. 





/ 
I 



UE\NSBRIEF- 



What's Next 
For Connexion? 

Boeing recently announced plans 
to evaluate its high-speed broad- 
band communications business, 
Connexion by Boeing, launched 
in April 2000. The evaluation may 
lead to the sale, partnership, or 
termination of the service, to be 
determined after meetings with 
customers. Eleven international 
airlines currently offer Connexion 
by Boeing; but the service is not 
available with U.S. carriers. 

Switzerland-based OnAir, backed 
in part by Airbus, plans to offer a 
range of in-flight services, including 
mobile telephony and Internet ac- 
cess. The company is introducing 
GSM and GPRS services in Western 
Europe in 2007, followed by Inter- 
net service on long-range aircraft. 
"OnAir's proposition is different from 
Connexion by Boeing's," says OnAir 
CEO George Cooper. "The response 
to our plans seems to confirm that 
the OnAir approach will meet main- 
stream market needs for an economi- 
cally viable set of services." 

by Carmen Carmack 






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Switch Calendar Views 

As with Contacts, you can change the 
Calendar views by selecting the right tab 
from the bottom. For a neat way to get a bird's 
eye view of your calendar, open the Year view. 
Then, pick a category. Notice the dots change 
based on the category? If you have a category 
for "Baseball" that lists your favor- 
ite team's games, select Baseball 
and you'll see all the dots indicat- 
ing when the team has its games. 



Get an overview of the year's schedule for 
a category through Calendar's Year view. 



4 

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UE\NSBRIEF~ 



This Is Only 
A Test 

The Federal Emergency 
Management Agency is testing a 
new Digital Emergency Alert 
System that uses digital TV tech- 
nology to transmit emergency 
alerts to wireless devices, radios, 
televisions, and Internet-linked 
PCs nationwide. Don't expect to 
find flashing alerts on your 
BlackBerry, though, for another 
18 months to two years. 

by Anne Steyer Phelps 



• 



PCToday / October 2006 51 



Multitasking 



Smart Nokia 
Smartphone Advice 

A Grab Bag Of Tips For Your S60 Smartphone 





Use Your Phone As A Modem 

If you're using a computer running 
Windows XP with the Nokia PC Suite in- 
stalled, you can use your Nokia smartphone as 
a modem. Turn on your Nokia phone and at- 
tach it to the PC via USB cable. On the PC click 
Start, click Control Panel, and then double- 
click Nokia Connection Manager. Under 
Connections Available uncheck all of the 
boxes and click OK. In the Control Panel 
window, double-click Network Connections. 
In the New Connection Wizard, click Next, se- 
lect the Set Up An Advanced Connection radio 
button and click Next, select the Accept 
Incoming Connections radio button and click 
Next, select the smartphone from the 
Connection Devices list and click Next, click 
Next on the following three screens, and then 
click Finish. In the Network Connections 
window, you can now right-click the new con- 
nection and select Properties to modify net- 
working options based on your needs. 
Similarly, you can optionally click Start, click 
Control Panel, and then double-click Nokia 
Modem Options to adjust the data connection 
speed or designate a GPRS (General Packet 
Radio Service) access point. 




obile phones running Nokia's S60 platform should become more plentiful in the United States in coming months. If your 
company just issued one to you, or if you picked up a Nokia 6682 or other model for yourself, this article offers some tips 
and fixes that might come in handy. by Calvin Clinchard 



Multitask With S60 

When running multiple applications on a 
Windows computer you can hold down the 
ALT key and press TAB to quickly switch be- 
tween the program window you're currently 
viewing and a window that's minimized or 
open in the background. You can do some- 
thing similar with an S60 smartphone. Say 
you're reading an email message that includes a hyperlink to a Web page, and 
you click the link to launch the page in your browser. You can then press and 
hold the Menu key to view the running programs' icons and use the scroll key 
to switch quickly between the email app, the browser, and whatever program 
you might have been using before you checked your email. 



Solve Multimedia 
Messaging Problems 

Sometimes, when your phone is trying 
to receive a multimedia message, rather 
than loading it successfully it delivers an 
error message that reads, "Not enough 
memory to retrieve message. Delete some 
data first." Solving this problem is as 

simple as doing what the message instructs and deleting some data. But if 
you're reluctant to delete anything, you can first find out what exactly is 
hogging all the memory. To do this press the Menu key, select Tools, select 
File Mgr, press Options, scroll down to select Memory Details, and then 
press Select. After viewing what applications and files are consuming what 
amount of memory, you can make an informed decision about what to 
delete. The quickest way to free up space is to delete or transfer to a memory 
card any unwanted photos and videos, but it can also help to remove email 
messages (including drafts and deleted items not yet removed from the 
phone) and clear the Web browser cache. 




52 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Multitasking 



Gauge Battery Life 

There's battery life in terms of how much 
talk and standby time you get out of a single 
^^^^^J charge, and then there's battery life in terms 

_ ^^^^^^^_* of how long the battery runs adequately be- 

fore it should be replaced. The key to knowing 
when it's time to buy a new battery lies in 
paying attention to operating time. According 
to Nokia, when talk and standby time dwindle enough that you notice it, the bat- 
tery is beginning to wear out and it's time to get a new one. Things to avoid that 
can shorten a battery's lifetime include overcharging the device (charging it too fre- 
quently or repeatedly for longer than necessary) or leaving the device in extremely 
hot or cold environments. 




TTT 



r 



Change Your Calendar View 

Changing the view in S60's Calendar application 
is as simple as pressing Options and selecting Week 
View (if you're switching from Month View) or 
Month View (if you're switching from Week View). 
But if you'd prefer your Calendar to always open in 

Week View or Day View as opposed to the default Month View, open the Calendar, 
press Options, select Settings, scroll to highlight Default View, press the scroll key to 
change the setting to Week View or Day View, and press OK. 





Transfer Data From One Phone To Another 

With a Bluetooth connection you can transfer 
just about everything (files, calendar information, 
contacts) from one S60 mobile phone to another 
compatible S60 phone, even if the phone from 
which you're transferring data does not have a 
SIM card. First turn on both phones and activate 
Bluetooth connectivity. In each phone press the Menu key, select Connect, select 
Bluetooth, enter a unique name, and press OK. Press the scroll key to switch Bluetooth 
from Off to On and make sure that under My Phone's Visibility it reads Show To All. 
Press Exit and then press the menu key. On the main menu select Tools and then se- 
lect Transfer. Read the Data Transfer information and press OK. The next screen tells 
you to make sure the phone that will receive the data transfer is turned on and has 
Bluetooth activated. Press Continue. The phone should spend just a few seconds 
searching for and identifying the other device. Under Devices Found choose the other 
phone and press Select. The next screen tells you to make up a passcode so that the 
two devices can communicate. Click OK, type a passcode, and enter the passcode on 
the receiving device to make the connection. Follow the prompts to select the desired 
data for transfer and to complete the process of transferring it from phone to phone. 



) 

.a 

j 



UE\NSBRIEF~ 



Symbian 
Updates 
Smartphone OS 

With the release of Symbian OS 
9.3, smartphones just got 
smarter. You can expect new 
phones running the upgraded 
operating system to take advan- 
tage of Symbian OS' built-in 
support for Wi-Fi networking (a 
key feature for travelers who 
spend time in major airports, 
many of which now offer free 
Wi-Fi), as well as USB 2.0 OTG 
(On-The-Go), a low-power, 
portable-friendly version of the 
USB standard. The OS also adds 
Hindi and Vietnamese language 
support and debuts FOTA 
(firmware over the air), which 
lets phones download patches 
and upgrades over the air. 

by Joshua Gulick 



UE]NSBRIEF~ 



All Your 
Travel Info 
In One Place 

With Yahool's new Trip Planner 
service (travel.yahoo.com/trip), 
you can create customized trip 
itineraries using the information 
about hotels, restaurants, and 
attractions posted to Yahoo! 
Travel Guides. You can also add 
travel information from else- 
where on the Web and create 
custom travel items as you use 
the Web-based interface to 
build your trip's schedule. And 
with the browse feature, you 
can search other Yahoo! users' 
trips for extra information. 

by Carmen Carmack 



• 



PCToday / October 2006 53 



Portable Gear 



Check Out The Treo 700p 

We Compare Palm's Latest Smartphone With Previous Models 



If you shopped for a smartphone 
recently, you know there are many 
models from which to choose. With 
so many brands, styles, and features 
available, finding a smartphone to suit 
your needs can be tough. 

In May, Palm added another smart- 
phone to the array of choices, announcing 
a Treo that runs on the latest version of 
the Palm OS. A few weeks later, the Treo 
700p smartphone ($399 with a two-year 
contract; www.palm.com) became avail- 
able from Sprint and Verizon Wireless. 



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The Palm Treo 700p is the first Treo to include 
built-in DUN (dial-up networking), which lets 
you use your smartphone as a high-speed 
modem for your laptop. 



Prior to the Treo 700p, Palm released 
three Treos: the 600, 650, and 700w. 
The Treo 600 and Treo 650 ran previous 
versions of the Palm OS. The Treo 700w, 
released in January, runs Windows 
Mobile 5.0. Owners of Palm's Treo 600 
and Treo 650 may be wondering if there 
are many differences between the 
models and whether the 700p is worth 
the upgrade. And people considering a 
smartphone purchase may also be won- 
dering what the Treo 700p has to offer. 
We had the opportunity to take a closer 
look at the 700p to get a feel for how it 
compares to other Treo models. 



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Palm's Treo 700p (left) is relatively the same size and shape as its predecessor, the Treo 
650 (right), but with less-rounded keys. 



Palm Inside 

One of the obvious differences be- 
tween the Palm Treo 700p and the Palm 
Treo 700 w is their OSes. The 700p runs 
Palm OS 5.4.9 whereas the Treo 700w 
runs Windows Mobile 5.0. By compar- 
ison, the previous Palm-based Treo 650 
runs Palm OS 5.4, which is slightly older 
than the version on the 700p. Despite the 
minimal differences between OSes, these 
two Palm-based phones are distinctly 
different; the 700p solves many of the 
quirks and limitations of the 650, in- 
cluding limited memory, and adds quite 
a bit of functionality. 

Like other mobile operating systems, 
the Palm OS gives easy access to your 
built-in Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and 
Memo organizer. You can synchronize 
every part of this organizer with its cor- 
responding feature in Microsoft Out- 
look or the included Palm Desktop 



software. Palm also integrated the 
Palm OS Contacts feature with the 
phone functionality in the Treo. With 
this integration, you can call someone 
directly from your Contacts list without 
switching to the Phone application. 

Versatile Applications 

The updated version of the Palm OS 
isn't the only software that differenti- 
ates the 700p from other Treo models. 
The Treo 700p has native support for 
Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 
documents using Documents To Go 
Version 8.0. It also has native support for 
PDF files. With native support you can 
open any of the aforementioned docu- 
ment types on the Treo 700p without first 
converting the file to a mobile format. 

Many other applications are avail- 
able for the Treo 700p, including scanR 
Whiteboards ($19.95; software.palm.com). 



54 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Portable Gear 



Using the Treo 700p's 1.3MP (megapixel) 
digital camera and scanR software, you 
can easily keep records of whiteboard 
notes from a meeting. After taking a pic- 
ture of a whiteboard using your Treo's 
camera, use the scanR software to clean 
the picture and correct it for deficiencies 
such as low lighting and shadows. You 
can then convert the image to a PDF file 
and email the PDF meeting notes to your- 
self or a colleague. 

It's A Mobile World 

One reason many of us trade our cell 
phones for smartphones is because we 
want to increase our mobility without 
sacrificing productivity or adding to the 
number of items we have to carry. The 
designers of the Treo 700p understood 
the need for mobility and included many 
features that will boost productivity 
while you're on the road. The 700p comes 
with the Blazer 4.5 Web browser, 
VersaMail 3.5, and Microsoft Exchange 
Server 2003 ActiveSync support. 

With data service from your wireless 
provider, you can use the EVDO (Evolu- 
tion Data Optimized) high-speed Internet 
connection to check your email, view 
streaming audio and video, or read the 



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In addition to the latest version of the 
Palm OS the Treo 700p comes with many 
applications, including support for native 
Microsoft Word and PDF documents. 



latest news in the Blazer Web browser. 
Another 700p feature lets you record and 
play back voice notes using the built-in 
voice recorder. Neither the Treo 700w nor 
Treo 650 has voice recorders. 

In addition to EVDO, the 700p has 
built-in DUN (dial-up networking) that 
lets you use your smartphone as a wire- 
less high-speed modem for your laptop. 
The Treo 700p is the first Treo to offer 
built-in DUN functionality. This is espe- 
cially handy for business travelers who 
require an Internet connection when one 
is not always available. 

The software behind the phone func- 
tionality of the Treo 700p adds a few other 
convenient features. If you are too busy to 
answer a call, the Ignore With Text fea- 
ture lets you ignore the call and respond 
to the caller with a SMS (Short Message 
Service) text message so he knows you 
will get back to him at a later time. The 
phone also has photo caller ID that dis- 
plays a picture associated with the caller. 

For additional connectivity and mo- 
bility, the Treo 700p comes with Blue- 
tooth 1.2. Although Bluetooth 1.2 isn't the 
newest Bluetooth standard, it is an up- 
grade from the Bluetooth 1.1 capabilities 
of the Treo 650. 

Treo Physique 

In comparison to the Treo 650 and Treo 
700w, the Treo 700p maintains a similar 
outer shell. All three models have a five- 
way navigation button, QWERTY key- 
board, external antenna, and 2.5-inch 
color touchscreen. Palm redesigned the 
Treo 650's QWERTY keyboard for the 
700w; the new 700p uses this new design 
as well. The keys on the redesigned key- 
board are mostly square shaped, com- 
pared to the previous oval keys. 

Previous Treo models, including the 
650 and 700w have six shortcut keys 
sandwiched between the display and the 
keyboard; key functions vary depending 
on the model of your Treo. The 700p has 
the same buttons with functions that in- 
clude Send, Phone, Calendar, Power/ 
End, Applications, and Messaging. 

The Treo 700p , s 1.3MP camera resides 
on the back of the smartphone, just as it 
has with previous models. And like the 
earlier models, this camera includes a 




Surf the Web or pull up a map on the 
Internet using the Blazer Web browser. 

self-portrait mirror to help you position 
the camera when taking shots of yourself. 
The top of the 700p is where youTl find 
an SD expansion slot that supports as 
much as 2GB of SD memory. Near the ex- 
pansion slot, youTl also find the Ringer 
On/Off switch that lets you quickly 
switch the phone to vibrate, an IR (in- 
frared) port, and the stylus. 

Shortly after Palm released the Treo 
650, many users complained about the 
way in which the smartphone used the 
measly 23MB of user accessible memory. 
Later, Palm issued an update that made 
better use of the available memory, but 
23MB doesn't go very far even when used 
efficiently. The new 700p comes with 
128MB of internal memory; 60MB is avail- 
able for the user. 

Upgrades Make The Difference 

Although it may look similar to its 
predecessors, the Treo 700p has a few 
key upgrades that differentiate it from 
the bunch. With built-in DUN, a 1.3MP 
camera, the upgraded Palm OS, and a 
few other key features, the Treo 700p is 
a definite step up from the Treo 650. If 
you're looking for a new smartphone or 
considering upgrading your existing 
smartphone, the 700p is worth serious 
consideration. by Jennifer Johnson 



PCToday / October 2006 55 



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Portable Gear 

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Push Email On The Q 

Good Mobile Messaging Delivers For This Motorola Smartphone 



The Motorola Q's slim and func- 
tional design makes it one of the 
most appealing new smartphones 
on the market. Before its release, persis- 
tent rumors that it did not offer push 
email threatened to blemish the Q's al- 
lure. But on May 22, just in the nick of 
time (that is, right before the Q's May 
31st release), Motorola announced that 
the Q would indeed offer push email, 
and Good Technology would serve as 
the provider. That's Good news (pun in- 
tended) for Q owners whose companies 




At 2.52 inches wide and 4.33 inches long, 
the Motorola Q is one of the smallest 
smartphones available. 



have or want contracts with Good 
Technology and use Microsoft Exchange 
or IBM Lotus Domino. 

Good Push 

On the road, easy and reliable push 
email service is imperative for business 
travelers needing to keep in touch with 
clients and contacts. Setting up push 
email on the Motorola Q is simple with 
Good Mobile Messaging service because 
Q users only have to ask their IT depart- 
ment for a Good account. Rick Osterloh, 
vice president of management and mar- 
keting at Good Technology, says "IT ad- 
ministrators enable new users on their 
Good server, and with Good's Secure 
Over-the-Air capability, users can get up 
and going without having to give their 
handheld to IT. It's very easy to set up, 
maintain, and use." 

The Q's Riff Raff 

The non-Good options on the Q are 
Verizon's Wireless Sync and Microsoft 
Exchange's ActiveSync, but neither is as 
reliable nor as easy to set up as Good 
Mobile Messaging. Verizon Wireless is the 
operator for Q smartphones purchased in 
the United States, and its Wireless Sync is 
a Windows email redirector program that 
you install on your corporate computer. 



Placing The Q In The Smartphone Continuum 

The Motorola Q shares qualities with both the Treo 700p and BlackBerry 8700c 
Like the Treo 700p, the Motorola Q runs Windows Mobile 5.0 and has a five-way 
navigation button. Similar to the BlackBerry 8700c, the Q incorporates a thumbwheel 
on the side of the smartphone. At 0.45-inches thick, it's a quarter of an inch thinner 
than the BlackBerry 8700c and half as thin as the Treo 700p. The thin design allows 
the Q to fit easily in your pocket, and the $200 price tag from Verizon is initially easier 
on your pocketbook than the Treo 700p or Blackberry 8700c. However, the Q may 
still be the more expensive option in the long run, as Verizon's cheapest plan for the 
Motorola Q is $80 a month, and unlimited data usage costs $109.99 a month— 
almost $20 to $30 more per month than most smartphone service plans. I 



The Motorola Q Bluetooth 
Keyboard lets you wirelessly 
connect to your Q with a 
full-sized keyboard. It's great 
for typing a quick and 
important email. 








aln 



You can monitor both Exchange and 
Domino mailboxes, but the PC using 
Wireless Sync has to be left on to receive 
and forward email. Q owners should 
check with their IT department to make 
sure they can install the Wireless Sync 
software and leave their PC running while 
they're on the road. Wireless Sync may re- 
quire a little leg work on your part, but it 
will directly push email to you. 

ActiveSync, on the other hand, doesn't 
yet provide true push email to the Moto- 
rola Q. Direct push email with ActiveSync 
requires an AKU2 (Adaptation Kit 
Update) from the manufacturer that uses 
the MSFP (Messaging and Security 
Feature Pack). As of press time, an AKU2 
update was not available for the Motorola 
Q. However, IT departments can configure 
ActiveSync to perform an SMS (Simple 
Message Service)-based push every five 
minutes to four hours to contact your cor- 
porate server for email, calendar, and 
contact information. By contrast, Treo 
users can receive direct push email via 
the ActiveSync update, and BlackBerry 
owners can use the BlackBerry Internet 
service to receive instantaneous email. 
However, Verizon's fast EVDO (Evolution 
Data Optimized) network does make it 
easy for individuals to synchronize their 
Q with support for POP3/IMAP email 
accounts such as Hotmail, Yahoo!, 
and Gmail. by Nathan Lake 



PCToday / October 2006 57 



Portable Gear 



Safe & Secure 

Lock Down Your Portable Devices 



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Last month, PC Today's Global 
Traveler covered the connec- 
tion challenges — including se- 
curity issues — for mobile workers 
heading overseas with their portable 
devices. Although we might like to 
believe we are safer stateside, the re- 
ality is very different. 

The 2006 CSI (Computer Security 
Institute)/FBI Computer Security 
Survey found that 47% of responding 
companies had experienced a note- 
book, handheld, or mobile phone theft 
in the past year. (Notebook theft is 
now the second most prevalent crime 
in the United States after identity 
theft; someone steals a notebook every 
53 seconds.) These thefts cost compa- 
nies $6.6 million each on average, just 
over $30,000 per loss. Add to this the 
number of lost devices (65 million of 
us lost a mobile phone last year, and 
millions more lost notebooks and 



handhelds) and the potential for 
abuse becomes nearly incalculable. 

Even if you watch your portable de- 
vices like a hawk eying a field mouse, 
you are still susceptible to invasion if 
you log onto insecure Internet connec- 
tions at hotels, airports, and Internet 
cafes. Hacking into improperly secured 
networks is easy (check out "Hacking 
Wireless Networks For Dummies" on 
Amazon.com if you don't believe us), 
and many hackers are not satisfied 
with stealing only bandwidth. 

If someone stole your notebook, mo- 
bile phone, or handheld; or if he tun- 
neled into it while you were browsing 
on an insecure network, how hard 
would it be for him to extract data 
from that device? How much damage 
could a hacker do with sensitive or 
confidential company or personal data, 
or by using an access portal that logs 
you into your company's server? If 



you haven't considered these issues 
yet, you'd better get cracking before 
someone cracks your system. 

Bare Bones 

To begin, consider whether you 
have basic protection for your device: 
antivirus, antispyware, and firewall 
software. (If the answer is yes, you can 
skip to the "Armed & Ready" section). 
This protection is most critical for 
notebooks, but handhelds (and even 
mobile phones) are not immune. To 
date, viruses and other attacks on mo- 
bile phones and handhelds have been 
rare. However, experts predict the sit- 
uation will change, especially as more 
smartphones and PDAs gain the capa- 
bility to log onto the Internet directly 
via public wireless networks. 

Zone Alarm Pro. Zone Labs Zone 
Alarm Pro ($39.95; www.zonelabs 
.com) is a top-rated firewall for note- 
books. The company also offers a free 
basic version (Zone Alarm), as well as 
a security suite for $49.95. Other top 
players in the notebook antivirus/ 
antispyware and firewall arena, most 
of which also make products for 
handhelds, mobile phones, or both, 
are Symantec (www.symantec.com), 
Panda Software (www.pandasoft 
ware.com) McAfee (www.mcafee 
.com) and F-Secure (www.f-secure 
.com). In addition, Airscanner (www 
.airscanner.com) is a top-rated com- 
pany that specializes in solutions for 
handhelds and smart phones. 

Armed & Ready 

Beyond the basics, you should take 
additional steps to secure your de- 
vices. The U.S. OMB (Office of Man- 
agement and Budget), in response to 
notebook thefts earlier this year at sev- 
eral federal agencies, has issued new 
security guidelines for government 
offices. They're good guidelines for 
you to follow, too. 

The guidelines include encrypting 
sensitive data and instituting "two- 
factor" (two-part) authentication with 
one of the factors being a device not 
permanently attached to your PC. 
(Essentially, security software will not 



58 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Portable Gear 



release or decrypt the data unless both 
factors are present.) The agency also 
recommends enabling a time-out func- 
tion that requires user reauthentication 
after a period of inactivity. 

You can gain these protections for 
your notebooks, and to a lesser degree 
your handhelds, with a reasonable in- 
vestment. Mobile phones present a 
greater challenge for two reasons. First, 
the concept of mobile phone security 
is fairly new. Second, some mobile 
phones will not let you download 
third-party applications. 

Consequently, there is a dearth of 
consumer-grade security software for 
mobile phones. There are several enter- 
prise-grade solutions, but these are ex- 
pensive for individuals and most small 
companies. If you work for a large cor- 
poration, ask if a security program is 
available to you. Fortunately, vendors 
are now releasing mobile phones with 
built-in security features and software. 
Nokia (www.nokia.com) is a leader in 
this area. Additionally, we expect more 
smartphone security solutions to debut 
in the next year. Check out any one of 
the security programs we reviewed. 

DESlock" 1 ". This broad-based, strong 
encryption tool for notebooks lets you 
drag and drop, create, or save files 
into encrypted folders where they be- 
come invisible when you log out. Data 
Encryption Systems DESlock + (free to 
as much as $184.98 depending on ver- 
sion and usage; www.deslock.com) 
also encrypts email messages and on- 
screen text including Web mail. As a 
bonus you can use any USB minidrive 
to store the keys that enable file access, 
giving you a two-part authentication 
solution. A 60-day free trial makes the 
offer irresistible. 

DESlock + is free for single users on 
a personal PC and costs less than $50 
for multiple users on a notebook (for 
each user to have his own key). Step- 
ping up to the hardware version 
($184.98) will net you a specialized 
USB token equipped with a dedicated, 
encryption-centric operating system. 

Mobile Encrypter for Pocket PC. 
Airscanner (www.airscanner.com), 
which makes the top-selling antivirus 




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DESlock" 1 " is a top-rated solution that lets you 
store files inside encrypted folders that become 
invisible when you log out of the program. 

solution for Windows Mobile devices 
(handhelds and smartphones), also 
makes firewalls and encryption soft- 
ware for Windows Mobile devices. 
The most recent version, Mobile 
Encrypter for Pocket PC ($29.99) not 
only strong-encrypts your data, it also 
can securely wipe it from built-in 
memory and external cards. You en- 
crypt/decrypt files and folders (each 
with its own password if you choose) 
and set timeout limits after which the 
files or folders lock up. A 30-day trial 
version will let you decide if you like 
Mobile Encrypter for Pocket PC. 

SafeGuard products. Utimaco Soft- 
ware's (www.utimaco.com) SafeGuard 
PrivateDisk Personal Edition ($70; 
available for notebooks) creates a vir- 
tual, encrypted partition on your hard 
drive in which you can store files or 
folders. The newest version includes a 
freeware decryption tool, SafeGuard 
PrivateDisk Portable, to make the files 
readable on different computers or 
medium. PrivateDisk offers several 
authentication methods, including pass- 
word and USB or smart card tokens. 

Rather than create a discrete drive, 
SafeGuard PDA Personal Edition ($45), 
for Windows Mobile handhelds, en- 
crypts internally stored data on the ex- 
isting drive or writeable memory space 



of your handheld. However, it also en- 
crypts data you archive to removable 
media such as smart cards. 

For more robust protection, Safe- 
Guard Easy ($240), for notebooks, en- 
crypts not only your notebook's internal 
drive, but also any portable drives you 
attach to the machine. It authenticates 
at the boot (pre-Windows) level, so 
hackers cannot access your files if they 
bypass Windows or remove the drive. 
SafeGuard Easy is compatible with 
SafeGuard PDA Personal Edition (for 
exchanging encrypted data via email 
or smart card) and with Absolute 
Software's Computrace (a Lojack-style 
solution we mention later). 

SafeGuard also makes a product, 
SafeGuard PrivateCrypto ($39), which 
gives encryption protection to your 
outgoing emails; a perfect solution 
when you are using public wireless 
networks. All these products offer a 
free demo (using a preassigned pass- 
word) but not a true free trial. 

Sentry 2020. SoftWinter Sentry 2020 
($49.95; www.softwinter.com) uses 
super-strong, transparent encryption to 
protect your information. The product, 
which is available for handhelds and 
notebooks, encrypts and decrypts files 
on your primary storage medium, as 
well as on removable media, on the fly. 
Transfer your access keys to another 
device or computer and you won't lose 
access to your data if you forget the 
password or the system is corrupt. 



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Sentry 2020 offers robust encryption solutions 
for handhelds and notebooks, and it lets you 
transfer your authentication keys to other 
devices for safekeeping. 

SplashData SplashlD. SplashID 
(29.99; www.splashdata.com) strongly 
encrypts, stores, and password pro- 
tects sensitive information in a secure 



PCToday / October 2006 59 



Portable Gear 



database you can access and edit from 
your computer. Not only can you load 
personal contact and financial infor- 
mation, but you can also add client 
contact information, company price 
sheets, and anything you can organize 
by fields into a spreadsheet-style 
format. The program, which is avail- 
able for handhelds and mobile phones, 
generates a nifty screen filled with rec- 
ognizable icons to help you access the 
data quickly. 

T3 Security Suite. Trilogy Total 
Technology T3 ($99.95; www.t3us 
.com) came out right before press 
time, so there are no user reports for 




The T3 Security Suite includes a $1,500 theft 
insurance policy with every purchase. 

us to evaluate. However, this pro- 
gram for notebooks sounds good, 
and the company sweetens the pot 
with a $1,500 laptop theft insurance 
policy with every purchase. T3 incor- 
porates two-factor authentication 
(password and USB key), and it 
keeps track of unauthorized access 
attempts via the T3 Audit Trail. For 
parents, the T3 Secu-rity Suite also 
offers the bonus of Web access con- 
trol. And the program also automati- 
cally locks down data if you leave 
your notebook unattended for a spec- 
ified period of time. 

TrueCrypt. Another item for note- 
books that offers boot-level encryption 



is TrueCrypt Foundation's TrueCrypt 
(free, open source; www.truecrypt 
.org). Additionally, True-Crypt de- 
crypts your files into memory (rather 
than to a storage drive) and feeds 
them to the program you are using. 
That makes it nearly impossible for 
a hacker to access data you are using. 
The downside here is that because 
TrueCrypt is open source and was 
created as a public project and not a 
commercial one, TrueCrypt Founda- 
tion offers no official support for 
the program. 

Get Physical 

Beyond software, there are other 
options for safeguarding your note- 
book computer. You can engage the 
services of a notebook recovery firm, 
such as Absolute Software (www.ab 
solute.com), which produces Compu- 
trace Lojack for Laptops ($49.99). 
Additionally, portable USB drives 
(of all sizes and capacities) that come 
preloaded with encryption software 
are now fairly common. Maxtor 
(www.maxtorsolutions.com) and 
LaCie (www.lacie.com) are just two 
examples of several manufacturers 
who make such devices. Some of 
these portable drives also include 




biometric sensors (in this case, finger- 
print readers). 

You can also purchase an add-on 
USB fingerprint reader to restrict 
access to your notebook and store 
your passwords. Microsoft (www.mi 
crosoft.com) and APC (American 
Power Conversion; www.apc.com) 
make popular models. Finally, you 
can always rely on the most basic 
solution: a lock. Targus recently an- 
nounced the DEFCON CL Armor 
Combo Cable Lock ($54.99; www 
.targus.com), which company repre- 
sentatives say is so cut-resistant it 
will damage cable cutters. 




A biometric reader is a powerful deterrent 
to thieves, but make sure you have an 
alternate method of accessing your data 
in case the hardware fails. 



The Targus DEFCON CL Armor Combo Lock 
can keep your notebook securely anchored 
to a desk or other stationary object. 

The Road To Safety 

Before you rush out to purchase any 
of these solutions, implement the most 
basic one of all. Protect your devices 
(including your mobile phone) with a 
strong login password. 

Also, be sure to back up important 
data and store passwords (and au- 
thentication keys if possible) safely at 
home, at the office, or with a trusted 
friend or associate. Not only do you 
not want to lose your data if a device 
is stolen, but also there is nothing 
worse than setting up a mobile Fort 
Knox and discovering that a software 
or hardware glitch means even you 
cannot get inside. 



60 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



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Travel 



International 
Traveler's Toolkit 

Essential Gadgets For The Journey 




If you are a seasoned traveler accus- 
tomed to going overseas, you un- 
doubtedly have a ready arsenal of 
electronic gadgets that make it easy to stay 
in sync with the office. But if it has been a 
while since you updated that arsenal, or if 



you're just getting acquainted with the 
idea of international travel, we invite you 
to take a look at some especially useful 
new gear for the traveling techie. 

by Calvin Clinchard 



Connection Protection 

Take this quick four-question test. (1) Does your notebook have a USB port, either 1.1 
or 2.0 Hi-Speed? (2) Does your notebook run Windows XP, either Home Edition or 
Professional? (3) Does your notebook contain data you really, really can't afford to let 
strangers access? (4) Do you plan to make use of various Wi-Fi hotspots during your 
travels? If you answered yes to all of these, consider using Kensington's Personal 
Firewall For Notebooks ($49.99; us.kensington.com). The USB key-based firewall works, 
regardless of whatever other security software is installed on your notebook, to identify 
and restrict access from others. Simply plug the device into an available USB slot and its 
software works automatically. You'll be amazed at how many potential hackers this 
device identifies when you're surfing at hotspots you believe to be safe. 



Portable Storage 

USB flash drives aren't literally a dime a dozen, but they are 
widely available and becoming far less expensive than they 
were just a year ago. Many manufacturers are starting to offer 
USB drives with special features, such as preinstalled security 
software. Kingston's 1GB and 2GB U3 DataTraveler Smart 
Drive models ($47 and $75, respectively; www.kingston 
.com) are affordable USB flash drives that include U3 software. 
U3 (www.u3.com) is an increasingly popular platform de- 
signed to let you install specific programs (such as the Firefox 
Web browser) directly on your USB flash drive for use on any 




computer. The DataTraveler drives include U3 security fea- 
tures, the Zinio digital publication reader, and trial password 
and photo management applications. 



Total Recall 

Voice recorders have 
come a long way in re- 
cent years, as evidenced 
by Olympus' WS-320M 
($229.99; www.olympus 
america.com). The WS- 
320M is a cream-of-the- 
crop model that offers a 
triple-play set of features: 
digital recorder (up to 
277 hours), music play- 
er (with MP3 and WMA 
support), and storage 
(when used as a 1GB USB 
flash drive). It includes 
a built-in microphone, 
on-device editing features 
(so you are not tied to de- 
leting and moving files 
on a PC), and roughly 
15 hours of life using a 
single AAA battery. 




62 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Travel 




Steady Power 

Kensington's Portable 120W Power Supply ($99.99; us.kensington.com) includes 
all of the adapters you need to supply 120 watts of continuous electricity to a variety 
of devices. This device doesn't work as an international socket adapter for travel out- 
side the United States (see the "Adapters: There's More Than One Way To Power 
Your Gadgets" sidebar for details about that); rather, this device comes with adapters 
that let you power almost any mobile gadget you have, including notebooks, mobile 
phones, and PDAs. And, better still, it comes with plug-in adapters for use in vehicle 
cigarette lighters and airplane power outlets. The power supply itself is so light- 
weight, you might even want to use it instead of the power brick that came with your 
notebook. Kensington also includes a handy carrying case to help you keep the 
power supply, cord, and adapters all together. 



Mini Mouse 

The MoGo Mouse ($69.95; www. new 
tonperipherals.com) doesn't op- 
erate any differently 
other wireless note- 
book mice in the 
sense that it uses 
Bluetooth and, 
well, it works as a 
mouse. What makes 
the MoGo Mouse revo- 
lutionary is that it slides 
into any standard notebook PC 

card slot and, when in use, has a little kicks tand to maintain a comfortable angle. 
The mouse has a built-in battery that recharges as long as it's in a PC card slot in a 
powered-up notebook, so there's no need to replace batteries as is necessary with 
other wireless mice. 



Serious Case For Air Travel 

A notebook case is a notebook case is 
notebook case, right? Even if you're the 
highly practical type who doesn't care a 
whit whether your laptop case has 
seven carefully designed pockets for 
every type of mobile accessory or one 
big pocket for tossing everything in (as 
long as it works), you should consider 
Targus' Blacktop Roller Notebook Case 
($99.99; www.targus.com/us). The case 
durable and does indeed have a pocket or 
pouch for everything from pens and 
business cards to mobile phones and, of 
course, your notebook. But what makes it 
a winner for overseas travel is a separate 
compartment for extra clothing and overall 
dimensions that let you slide the case under a seat if 
an overhead bin is unavailable. 




Adapters: There's More 
Than One Way To 
Power Your Gadgets 

Other gadgets might be expend- 
able when traveling outside of 
the United States, depending on your 
computing needs. Having an inter- 
national plug adapter, however, is a 
must for powering and recharging 
your notebook, mobile phone, PDA, 
and other digital devices. When 
shopping for an adapter you'll quickly 
find scads of options. Here are three 
of the best, each for unique reasons. 

Belkin Universal AC 
Travel Adapter 

This Belkin adapter ($19.99; www 
.belkin.com) works with the four 
most common socket types around 
the world. Its plugs extend and re- 
tract Swiss Army knife-style, which 
helps to make this the tiniest adapter 
of the three covered here. Extreme 
portability and low price are the 
adapter's main benefits. 

Franzus All-in-One Adapter 
Plug With Surge Protector 

This all-in-one adapter plug from 
Franzus ($19.49; www.franzus.com), 
true to its name, has multipurpose 
socket holes and a variety of pop-out 
plugs designed to work with all of 
the most commonly used plugs and 
sockets worldwide. What makes this 
device unique is that it includes a 
built-in surge protector. 

Kensington Travel Plug 
Adapter With USB Charger 

This Kensington adapter ($29.99; 
us.kensington.com) features switches 
and retractable plugs that work with 
the most common socket types in 
more than 1 50 countries. Its stand-out 
feature is a USB charger and voltage 
converter for USB devices such as dig- 
ital cameras and music players. 



PCToday / October 2006 63 



Citrix GoToMeeting 

Conduct Meetings Offsite From Your Office 




With the price of gas bouncing up 
and down (mostly up) like a 
hyperactive 6-year-old on a 
pogo stick, companies and business pro- 
fessionals are looking for ways to trim 
travel mileage. One option is to cut down 
on out-of-office meetings and presenta- 
tions. Although there will never be a sub- 
stitute for an in-person handshake, there 
is a way to reduce the number of meeting 
trips you take. It's Citrix GoToMeeting 
(www.gotomeeting.com), and it's so 
simple to use, even your most technologi- 
cally challenged customer (or the afore- 
mentioned 6-year-old) can master it. 

GoToMeeting is an online meeting and 
presentation solution that offers the tri- 
fecta of features beloved by corporations: 
It's cheap, easy, and fast. It takes about 
two minutes to sign up for the service on 
the GoToMeeting Web site and install the 
applet on your PC. After you complete 
the installation, an orange, flower-shaped 
icon on the Windows Taskbar lets you 
open and run the GoToMeeting Control 
Panel. (You can also start and run meet- 
ings from the GoToMeeting Web site.) 

Time To Meet 

The Control Panel contains five panes: 
Screen Sharing, Attendee List, Chat, Invite 
Others, and Meeting Info. When you open 



GoToMeeting, a bright red note points 
you to Invite Others, which contains 
the information you distribute so 
others can join your meeting. Click 
the Email button and GoToMeet- 
ing will paste the specifics into a 
message for you; optionally you 
can call your attendees or dissemi- 
nate the information another way. 
To join, attendees visit the GoTo- 
Meeting site, enter the code you sent, 
and voila! Whatever visuals you desig- 
nate appear on their Desktops just as if 
they were sitting in front of your PC. After 
attendees arrive, oversized buttons on the 
GoToMeeting Control Panel make it easy 
to run the meeting. You can share or stop 
sharing your Desktop at will, enable atten- 
dees to make notations with included 
drawing tools, share keyboard and mouse 
control, and /or change the presenter so 
another person can share his Desktop. 

You can also choose which Desktop 
elements to share: the entire display; the 
entire display with icons, background, 
and Taskbar hidden; or just the window 
of an open application. With more than 
one application open, you can toggle 
between programs. 





Appointment Scheduling 




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Optional integration lets you organize and 
manage GoToMeeting events with Microsoft 
Outlook (seen here) or Lotus Notes. 



An Imperfect World 

GoToMeeting is purely document- 
based; it doesn't support audio or video 
teleconferencing, which will be a serious 
drawback for some. To conduct an audio 
conference while you are meeting online, 
Citrix provides free (but not toll-free) 
audio conferencing services, issuing a 
phone number you and your attendees 
use to dial in. (If you are meeting with 
only one or two other people, it's just as 
easy to dial them directly using three- 
way calling if needed.) 

GoToMeeting has a few other draw- 
backs, as well. You can only participate in 
one meeting at a time, and you cannot 
have screens from more than one applica- 
tion on display concurrently. If you have 
clients using Mac-based systems, theyTl 
be out of luck because GoToMeeting only 
runs on Windows machines. 

Good & Plenty 

Nevertheless, GoToMeeting is a quick 
and easy way to give a sales pitch, run 
through a tutorial, or interactively share 
the contents of a file with someone in a 
remote location. Your connection will be 
secure, and GoToMeeting's powerful 
compression technology will ensure al- 
most no information delivery lag time, 
even with a dial-up connection. 

Options available from drop-down 
menus on the Control Panel and your 
Taskbar icon give you even more control, 
letting you schedule meetings in advance 
(optionally integrated with Outlook or 
Lotus Notes calendars), enable or disable 
text-based chatting, and record your on- 
line sessions. (You'll need a microphone 
or software to record audio.) At a price of 
$49 per month for up to 11 users (you 
plus 10 invitees), GoToMeeting is a pow- 
erfully attractive option for anyone who 
wants to spend more time in the office 
and less on the road. by Jennifer Farwell 



64 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Mobile Software 



New & Updated Mobile 
Software 

Maximize Your Device's Performance With New Applications 



New Software 

Everyone.net Business Mail (www 
.everyone.net) offers an email solution for 
Treo users who want to sync emails 
while on the road. Instant Push Email 
(www.emailtreo.com) pushes email mes- 
sages to the Treo as soon as they arrive 
and then alerts the user with a custom- 
izable notification. Users receive an 
©emailtreo.com address and can con- 
tinue working on the Treo as the push 
technology downloads emails in the 
background. The service contains spam 
and virus protection, and syncs emails, 
folders, and email rules between the 
user's laptop, desktop, Web mail, and 
Treo. Instant Push Email costs $19.99 per 
year, and a free trial is available. 




Use Everyone.net's 
Instant Push Email 
on your Treo to 
receive instant 
notification and 
access to your 
email messages. 



FotoNation Face Tracker (www.foto 
nation.com) for camera phones captures 
human faces in the camera phone's pre- 
view screen and tracks the face appearing 
within a drawn box. As Face Tracker 
tracks the frame before capturing the 
image, the application automatically ad- 
justs focus, exposure, and white balance. 
The process technology improves the ac- 
curacy of the skin tones and optimally fo- 
cuses on faces in the captured image. 



FotoNation Face Tracker fine-tunes itself 
as needed to work with camera phones 
that have limited processing speed. Keep 
an eye out for this useful application the 
next time you're shopping for a new 
camera phone. 

TrakPak from Virtual Views (www.vir 
tualviews.com) lets BlackBerry users track 
USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DPL packages. 
Enter the tracking number and select the 
shipper to receive the package's tracking 
information. TrakPak can store up to 100 
tracking numbers. A free trial is available 
and the Personal Edition costs $9.99 for 
one year. Businesses that use the Black- 
Berry Enterprise Server with MDS enabled 
should use the TrakPak Enter-prise 
Edition, also available for $9.99. 

SplashTravel (www.splashdata.com) 
for the Palm and Treo consists of 15 
tools for the traveler such as a currency 
converter, expense tracker, country and 
area codes, and a world map. The soft- 
ware retails for $19.95. 

Software Updates 

Iambic (iambic.com) Agendus 11.0 for 
Palm OS contains new features in Today 
View, Task View Hierarchy Mode, and 
Calendar View, as well as added sup- 
port for meeting completion and cancel- 
lation. Agendus 11.0 retails for $29.95 for 
new users. Agendus Mail v5.0 corrects 
many issues found in the previous re- 
lease and sells for $19.95. Owners of pre- 
vious versions of Iambic software can 
get discounted upgrade rates by signing 
up at www.iambic.com/upgrade. 

Spb Time v2.0 (www.spbsoftware 
house.com) for Windows Mobile supports 
Windows Mobile 5 and comes with a 
Today plug-in, screensaver slideshow, and 
a customizable city database. Owners of 
an earlier version can upgrade for $14.95. 



Microsoft Virtual Earth Mobile vl.64 

for Windows Mobile is an update current 
Virtual Earth Mobile users will appre- 
ciate. It has new features that include dri- 
ving directions shown directly on the 
map, pushpins for identifying specific lo- 
cations, and GPS improvements in- 
cluding the addition of an options dialog 
in the application. The update also fixes 
the driving directions and business 
search features. Get the update from the 
Windows Mobile Team Blog (blogs.msdn 
.com/windowsmobile/archive/2006/06 
/27/649384.aspx). 

PhatWare Calligrapher v8.3 (www 
.phatware.com), a handwriting recogni- 
tion application for Windows Mobile de- 
vices and smartphones, comes with four 
new PenCommands that let users send 
SMS (short message service) and email 



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PhatNotes works 
with Pocket PC 
2003 or later; Palm 
Desktop 4.0 or 
later; and PalmOS 
3.5 or later. 



messages, dial phone numbers, and use 
the built-in camera to capture images. 
Current users can upgrade for $24.95 and 
new users pay $39.95. PhatWare also up- 
dated PhatNotes 4.7.1 and 4.7.2 (de- 
pending on edition), a note organizer for 
Windows Mobile and Palm-based devices 
that lets users create and organize notes 
by subject, type, and date. The application 
now supports Windows Mobile 5.0 and 
smartphones with QVGA screens. Prices 
range from $19.95 to $39.95, depending on 
the edition. by Meryl K. Evans 



PCToday / October 2006 65 



Entertainment 



Mobile Games 

Fun For Road Warriors 



by P. Bryan Edge-Salois 



The availability and pricing of mobile games is generally dependent upon your service provider. Pricing typically starts around 
$2.99, but may include additional connect-time charges for downloading a game. In addition, some providers may offer a lower 
monthly subscription fee or a one-time purchase price for unlimited play. Finally, not all games are available from all providers for 
all handsets, so check with your service provider to learn exactly what games are available for your particular handset. 



Karate Spirits 3D 




Bandai www.bandaiwireless.com 

Karate Spirits 3D proves 
that a mobile fighting game 
can offer depth. The game's 
depth and strategy more 
than compensate for the (rel- 
atively) leisurely paced fight- 
ing in the game. Play begins 
by selecting one of five 
unique warriors, each of 
whom has their own special 
moves and fighting style. It's 
your job to train your warrior from a lowly beginner to a 
skilled master through a variety of challenges and fights. To as- 
cend the ranks of martial prowess, you must continue winning 
fights and mastering new skills and techniques. 

Karate Spirits 3D has four game modes: Free Fight, 
Promotion Test, 100-Man Kumite, and Training. Training pits 
you against a semi-programmable sparring partner so you can 
practice fighting moves and combinations. You can set the 
training partner to defend, stand still, or even fight back. 
Promotion Test requires you to complete various challenges 
and defeat an opponent in a timed match. Free Fight is the in- 
stant-play mode of the game and pits you against an opponent 
for a quick fight. The 100 Man Kumite is the game's true en- 
durance test, requiring you to defeat 100 increasingly difficult 
opponents back to back in order to complete the challenge. 

Karate Spirits 3D is very easy to learn and play, with enough 
depth and strategy to hook even novice fighting game players 
after just a few matches. The graphics and animation are excel- 
lent and capture the martial techniques well. Online play or 
some form of online competitive element would have been a 
nice addition; regardless, Karate Spirits 3D is one of the best 
fighting games you can get for the mobile platform. 



My Dog 



I-Play www.iplay.com 




My Dog is a virtual pet simulator in the same vein as 
Nintendogs, or its even older ancestor Tamogatchi. The game 
begins when you select a dog from one of several different 
pups. Once you've named your new best friend, it's your job to 
take him home and care for the virtual critter. 

At home, you can switch between the kitchen, house, and 
yard, where you can pet, train, play with, and care for your dog. 
You can also take your dog for walks around the park and go to 
the pet store, where you can buy supplies. Supplies aren't free, so 
if you find your daily allowance of $10 is stretched too thin, you 
can enter your dog in dog shows to win money. 

The action — if you can call it that — consists of four modes: 
Petting, Object, Walk, and Watch. Petting lets you pet, tickle, or 
stroke your dog; Object lets your dog interact with various ob- 
jects; and Watch lets you sit back and just watch the dog and 
see what he does when he's left to himself. The Walk mode lets 
you take your virtual Fido to the pet store or to a pet show. 

The only "right" way to play the game is to keep your dog 
happy and healthy, and he'll clue you in to what he needs 
through occasional thought bubbles that appear over his head. 
Neglect your dog, however, and the vet will take him away 
from you. 

The game runs in real time, so you can pop in periodically 
for a few minutes to check on your furry buddy without 
making a huge time commitment. If you're a fan of virtual pet 
games, or PC games like The Sims, you'll no doubt enjoy the 
casual diversion My Dog provides. 



66 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Entertainment 



Darkest Fear & Darkest Fear: Grim Oak 



■HENSBRIEF- 



Rovio Mobile www.roviomobile.com 



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1 ;15 £^ 



With Halloween looming 
on the horizon, horror fans 
should definitely check out 
Rovio Mobile's Darkest Fear 
and Darkest Fear: Grim Oak. 
These are the first two games 
in a trilogy, and the third in- 
stallment is scheduled for re- 
lease later this year. I decided 
to include both games in this 
review because they are closely tied to one another, and because they are both excel- 
lent games. If you like horror games — and the horror genre is scantly represented on 
the mobile platform — then you definitely need to play these games. 

The first game, Darkest Fear, encompasses the aftermath of a mysterious hospital 
incident. You play the role of Dr. Thomas Warden, who rushes to the hospital to visit 
his daughter after a desperate phone call from his wife that falls abruptly silent. 
Something mysterious and terrible has happened at the hospital, which is now thrust 
into darkness and crawling with foul, hideous creatures. 

Your ultimate goal is to find your daughter Helen, but youTl encounter a variety of 
patients in the hospital that also need to be rescued. Light is your only protection and 
weapon against the creatures lurking in the darkness. Finding and manipulating light, 
such as turning on light switches, using flashlights (sometimes creatively), opening 
curtains and the like, is essential to staying alive. 

Most of the puzzles in Darkest Fear involve moving boxes to cover switches that, in 
turn, open a door. YouTl also need to search rooms for keys hidden in desks, drawers, 
and cabinets, all while fumbling in the dark and desperately using your flashlight to 
find the fastest, safest path before the darkness envelops you and you become lunch 
for one of its denizens. It's a clever mechanic and one that truly creates a creepy, tense 
atmosphere — no small feat for a game on a sub 3-inch screen. 

Darkest Fear has three possible endings, and Darkest Fear: Grim Oak assumes 
you finished the game with the second ending. (WeTl leave you to discover those 
alternate endings.) 

Darkest Fear: Grim Oak takes place five years after the events of Darkest Fear, 
and your investigation has lead you to the mysterious city of Grim Oak. Grim 
Oak plays much like its predecessor, with the light manipulation puzzles of 
the first game and some adventure game puzzle solving. As in the first game, light 
is your only real defense against the evil lurking in the shadows. Grim Oak plays a 
bit more like an adventure game — there is more dialogue, you can explore more 
freely, and you can combine inventory items to solve puzzles. There is only one 
ending, however. 

Rovio Mobile's Web site complements its games extremely well, and features com- 
plete instructions for playing the games, game tips, and even a complete walkthrough 
(with maps) for both games. Obviously, if you like surprises don't read the walk- 
throughs; however, it's nice to have them available in case you get truly stuck. 

Darkest Fear: Grim Oak also features a few mini-games and side-quests, and (of 
course) some cool boss monsters to defeat. More importantly, however, is that 
both games offer a very compelling, creepy and well-told story, shrouded in mys- 
tery and painted with vivid graphics and some of the best atmospheric sound avail- 
able in a horror game. Grab these games for the best horror gaming this side of 
Resident Evil. 



/ 
I 



) 




HBO Just For 
Your Mobile 

HBO recently took the next step 
in the TV industry's slow but 
steady march to put everything 
TV-and-video in your pocket: full- 
length shows and made-for-HBO 
Mobile content. That's right — the 
only way you can watch Johnny 
Drama (from HBO's "Entourage") 
special episodes is to subscribe to 
HBO Mobile. HBO Mobile and 
Family Mobile also boast full- 
length episodes of "Crash box," 
"Curb Your Enthusiasm," and 
"The Sopranos." 

To have your own HBO 
Mobile fun, you'll need to buy a 
3G phone, sign up for Cingular 
Wireless' MEdia Max Bundle 
(which has Cingular Video), and 
then subscribe to HBO Mobile. 
"Cingular's 3G network is 
currently available in 18 major 
markets serving 54 communities 
and provides average download 
data speeds between 400 to 
700Kbps with bursts to over 
1Mb[ps]," says Jordan Burma, 
executive director, media 
innovation at Cingular Wireless, 
by Joshua Gulick 



HB©mobilQ 



• 



PCToday / October 2006 67 



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A Sandhills 



Business Travel 911 





Solve Network Connection Problems 



as A mobile computer user, you have a unique challenge when it comes to connecting to 
a network or the Internet. Your connection method can change on a daily basis. If you're well-traveled, 
your connection may even change on an hourly basis. 

Considering all the possibilities, it's a bit surprising that problems don't crop up more often than 
they do. We list some of the more common problems and a few ways to tackle them. 

by Tom Nelson and Mary O'Connor 



DHCP Connections 




The most common wired Ethernet configu- 
ration, for home and work, is a DHCP 
(Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) 
server that automatically assigns IP (Inter- 
net Protocol) addresses. This is perhaps the 
simplest connection method, as well as the 
least likely to cause problems. When you 
connect to an Ethernet network with 
DHCP, all of the essential properties are 
automatically configured for you. 

If you can't connect using DHCP, there 
are two possible problems, and they share 
the same solution. Your laptop may be 
holding onto an old IP address or other 
configuration parameters assigned from a 



previous connection, or your laptop can't 
find the DHCP server and is using a self- 
assigned IP instead. To remedy either prob- 
lem, you can force your laptop to release 
and renew the configuration information. 

In Windows XP, right-click My 
Network Places, either on the Desktop or 
in the Start menu, and select Properties 
from the pop-up menu. Right-click the 
Local Area Connection icon and select 
Status from the pop-up menu. Select the 
Support tab and click Repair. This will 
release and renew your IP lease, flush 
your DNS (Domain Name Server) cache, 
register your connection with the DNS 



service, and perform a few additional 
housekeeping tasks. 

You can perform the equivalent tasks 
in earlier Windows versions using the 
WINIPCFG command. Click Start , select 
Run, type winipcf g in the Open field, and 
click OK or press ENTER. In the IP 
Configuration window, click the Release 
button and the Renew button, and then 
click OK. If you have multiple network 
adapters, you can use the Release All and 
Renew All buttons to perform a Release 
/Renew cycle on all network connections 
at once. If you still have problems, try the 
sequence again and reboot your laptop. 



DNS 




If you can connect to your local network 
but not the Internet or some local network 
services, then it's probably a DNS issue. 

When your Ethernet connection is via a 
DHCP server, the DNS information should 
automatically be configured correctly for 
you. However, some networks prefer that 
DNS information be configured manually. 
You can add the DNS servers you use at 
home and at work to the DNS list. 



Ethernet Cables 



Windows 2000/XP 

Right-click the My Network Places 
icon. Right-click the Local Area Con- 
nection icon and select Properties from 
the pop-up menu. Double-click the 
Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) entry. Click 
the Advanced button and select the DNS 
tab. Click the Add button, enter the DNS 
address(es) provided by your ISP or IT 
department, and click OK. 



Windows 98/Me 

Right-click the My Network Places 
or Network Neighborhood icon on the 
Desktop. Select the Configuration tab and 
double-click the TCP/IP adapter line 
item. Select the DNS Configuration tab. 
Choose the Enable DNS option, enter the 
DNS address in the field next to the Add 
button, and click OK. Repeat to add other 
DNS addresses, if any. 



A loose or bad cable is often the cause of a lost Ethernet connection. As a mobile user, you 
should always keep a spare Ethernet cable in your toolkit. If your laptop's link or activity 
light isn't active, the cable may be bad. Replace the cable and try the connection again. 



70 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Business Travel 911 



Static IP Connections 



If the network you're trying 
to connect to uses a static 
IP, you will need to manu- 
ally configure your laptop. 
You must enter the IP, 
Subnet mask, and Gate- 
way/Router IP information. 
If any of this information is 
wrong, you will probably 
not be able to connect. The 
best way to avoid problems 
with incorrect information 
is to avoid changing your 
network settings every 
time you change locations. 
Chances are you don't have 
this information handy; 
youTl have to obtain it from 
your IT department or ask 
them to configure the set- 
tings for you. 

WinXP has built-in 
support for two Ethernet 
network configurations; 
however, one of the config- 
urations must use a DHCP 



server and the other must 
use static or self-assigned 
IPs. To configure WinXP 
for two Ethernet configura- 
tions, right-click the My 
Network Places icon and 
select Properties from the 
pop-up menu. Right-click 
the Local Area Connection 
icon and select Properties 
from the pop-up menu. 
Select the General tab, 
double-click the Internet 
Protocol (TCP/IP) option, 
and then select the Obtain 
An IP Address Automati- 
cally option. Select the 
Alternate Configuration tab 
and select the User Config- 
ured option. Enter the 
appropriate IP address, 
Submask, Default gateway, 
and DNS and /or Win serv- 
er addresses, and click OK. 

WinXP will now auto- 
matically switch between 



the two configurations 
as necessary to make a 
connection. All you need 
to do is plug in the Eth- 
ernet cable and boot 
your computer. 

Earlier Windows ver- 
sions don't support the 
alternate configuration 
option, but there are third- 
party programs available 
that can add multiple con- 
figuration support for your 
Ethernet connection. Some 
notable possibilities include 
NetSwitcher ($19.95 per 
license; J.W. Hance; 
www.netswitcher.com), 
Select-a-Net ($10; Digerati 
Technologies; www.diger 
atitech.com/products 
/selectanet.htm), and 
IPSwitcher (Basic $20, 
Pro $30; Softmate; www 
.ipswitcher.com). 



Wireless 



Like many portable de- 
vices, laptops are suscep- 
tible to loose parts. Before 
trying anything more com- 
plicated or time consuming, 
remove and reinsert the 
wireless card. If your card 
uses an external antenna, 
check to be sure the an- 
tenna cable is securely con- 
nected to both the card and 
the antenna. 

New improvements in 
wireless features and per- 
formance are always pop- 
ping up. Because of this 
ever-changing landscape, be 
sure to keep your wireless 
drivers up-to-date to help 



reduce or eliminate prob- 
lems that can occur when a 
wireless network uses fea- 
tures that an older wireless 
driver doesn't support. 

Intermittent or slow con- 
nections can be the result of 
interference from other 
electrical devices. Most 
wireless network connec- 
tions operate in the 2.4GHz 
band, as do many cordless 
phones, microwaves, and 
other electronics. If you're 
experiencing problems with 
your home network, try 
changing the wireless 
channel your access point is 
configured to use. If you're 



having problems with your 
work network, consult your 
IT group for assistance. 
Weak signal strength 
can also slow or prevent 
connections. The obvious 
solution is to move closer 
to the access point. When 
this isn't possible, you 
can increase the effective 
signal strength by using 
external range-boosting 
antennas. These antennae 
are available from a va- 
riety of wireless manufac- 
turers and are an essential 
part of a mobile toolkit 
if your job depends on 
staying connected. 



Connect To 

A Specific 

Network 

WinXP maintains a list of 
preferred networks. When- 
ever you connect to a new 
network, it will be added to 
this list. This can cause 
problems when multiple 
networks on the list are 
available at the same time. 

You can control the order 
of preference and whether 
or not WinXP automatically 
connects to a particular 
network. Right-click My 
Network Places and select 
Properties from the pop-up 
menu. Right-click the 
Wireless Network Connec- 
tion icon and select Prop- 
erties from the pop-up 
menu. Select the Wireless 
Networks tab. Under the 
Preferred Networks heading, 
you will see a list of every 
wireless network you have 
ever connected to. Most will 
have the word (Automatic) 
appended to their name. 
This means that if they are 
within range, WinXP will 
automatically attempt to 
connect to them. 

To change the order of 
preference, click a wireless 
network name to select it and 
use the Move Up or Move 
Down button to change its lo- 
cation on the list. 

To prevent WinXP from 
trying to connect to every 
available network, change 
the tags from Automatic to 
On Demand. Select a wireless 
network and click the Prop- 
erties button. Select the 
Connection tab, remove the 
check mark next to Connect 
When This Network Is In 
Range, and click OK. 



PCToday / October 2006 



Business Travel 911 



Identity Theft 




Identity theft wreaks havoc in people's lives every day. In some of the worst cases, victims have been 
refused loans, lost their jobs, or been arrested for crimes they didn't commit. Innocent people of all ages 
are becoming victims of this horrible crime on a daily basis. 

According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), "Identity theft occurs when someone possesses or 
uses your name, address, Social Security number, bank or credit card account number, or other identi- 
fying information without your knowledge with the intent to commit fraud or other crimes." 
Fortunately, there are things you can do that will make you a less attractive target. 



Inaccurate Credit Report 

New accounts opened by a thief are 
likely to show up on your credit report. 
Review your credit report for accuracy 
at least once a year. You're entitled to a 
free credit report from each of the three 
major credit bureaus (Equifax, 
Experian, and TransUnion) once a year 
through AnnualCreditReport (www 
.annualcreditreport .com). 



Beware Of 
Phishing Attacks 

Phishing scams occur when a con 
artist impersonates a bank, credit 
card, or ecommerce company and 
sends you an email asking you to 
give them your personal information. 
Although these emails may appear to 
be real, they aren't. 



Strange Phone Calls 

If you receive calls from collection agen- 
cies regarding debt you did not incur, 
remain calm and find out more infor- 
mation about the charge. Document the 
call and check into the charges immedi- 
ately. Don't give the caller your bank or 
credit card information to pay the bill, 
as this could cause additional problems 
if the caller is not legit. 




Credit Signs 

Receiving credit cards that you didn't 
apply for, denial of credit, or less-fa- 
vorable credit terms for no apparent 
reason can also signal identity theft. 
Check your credit reports to discover 
the extent of the theft. 

When It's Too Late. . . 

If you're already a victim of identity theft, 
take immediate steps to correct your 
records. Make sure to document every tele- 
phone call and follow up in writing using 
certified mail, return receipt requested. 
Never send original documents and always 
keep a copy of letters refuting charges. 



Shred Or Destroy 

It's wise to shred paperwork that con- 
tains personal information before 
throwing it away, especially preap- 
proved credit card offers. 



Close Accounts 

To minimize financial damage, close all ac- 
counts the thief has tampered with or 
fraudulently opened, including bank and 
credit card accounts. Place passwords on 
any new accounts you open but don't use 
easily identifiable words or numbers. 



A Valuable Number 

Make sure you protect your Social 
Security number whenever possible. 
Don't keep your Social Security card in 
your wallet and make sure your 
number does not appear on insurance 
cards or other information you carry. 

Missing Bills 

Keep track of when your bills should ar- 
rive; a missing bill can be a sign that a thief 
has changed the billing address to cover 
his tracks. Before paying a bill, examine it 
to make sure all charges are accurate and 
report unauthorized charges immediately. 



Opt Out 

To limit the disclosure of your personal 
information, contact your banks, mort- 
gage brokers, and the three major credit 
bureaus to tell them you want to opt 
out of programs that share personal in- 
formation. The Direct Marketing 
Association's Mail Preference Service 
lets you register to receive less commer- 
cial advertising mail. 

Tell Credit Agencies 

Contact any one of the three major 
credit-reporting agencies mentioned pre- 
viously to report fraud. They will place a 
fraud alert on your credit report and no- 
tify the other two agencies. This alert will 
tell creditors that they must contact you 
before authorizing any changes to your 
accounts or opening new accounts. 
You'll also receive all three credit reports 
at no charge. Check your credit report 
every three months in the first year of 
the theft and once a year thereafter. 



October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Business Travel 911 



FILE A POLICE 
REPORT 

Many organizations require 
proof that you are a victim of 
identity theft in the form of a 
police report. If you know 
where the fraudulent actions oc- 
curred, contact the authorities 
in that community; otherwise, 
contact your local authorities. 

Be Nosy 

If someone asks for your per- 
sonal information, find out 
what it will be used for and 
why he needs the informa- 
tion. Be extra cautious when 
giving out information 
over the phone if you did 
not initiate the conversation. 
Don't be afraid to hang up 
the phone and call back at a 
phone number correspond- 
ing to your bill to verify the 
caller's legitimacy. 

Tell The FTC 

Filing a report with the FTC 
helps with fraud investigation 
and can help with investigations 
across multiple jurisdictions. 
The information can help policy 
makers and businesses create 
better remedies and prevent 
identity theft. An ID Theft 
Affidavit from the FTC may also 
help in disputing charges. 



Use Your Memory 

Make sure that you commit 
any important passwords, 
PINs, and other important 
identification information 
to memory. This will pre- 
vent such valuable informa- 
tion from falling into the 
wrong hands. 



Important Contact Information 


F% ecoming a victim of ider 
O here are some Web sites 


tity theft is traumatic. If you find 


yourself in this position, 


and phone numbers that may help. 


Get Credit Reports 


Internal Revenue Service 


BankOne/Chase 


AnnualCreditReport.com 


www.irs.gov/compliance/enforce 


www.bankone.com 


www.annualcreditreport.com 


ment/article/0„id=106778,00.html 


Credit Card Services Fraud 


(877) 322-8228 


Criminal Investigation Informant 


Operations: (800) 686-5657 


Free credit reports. 


Hotline: (800) 829-0433 


On the Web site, click Protect Your 


Equifax 


Find out if someone has filed a tax 


Family From Identity Theft. 


www.equifax.com 


return in your name. 


Citibank 


Order report: (800) 685-1111 


TeleCheck 


www.citicorp.com/domain 


Fraud alert: (888) 766-0008 


www.telecheck.com 


/contact 


Credit reporting agency. 


(800)710-9898 


(800) 627-3999 


Experian 


On the Web site, click Consumer and 


Discover Card 


www.experian.com 


Check Fraud/Forgery to find out if 


www.discovercard.com/discover 


(888) 397-3742 


anyone has used your driver's license 


/data/faq/about_your 


Credit reporting agency. 


or ID to write fraudulent checks. 


_account.shtml#loststolen 


Transllnion 




(800) DISCOVER (347-2683) 


www.transunion.com 


Report Other Problems 


MasterCard 


Order report: (877) 322-8228 


SCAN 


www.mastercard.com 


Fraud alert: (800) 680-7289 


(800) 262-7771 


/cgi-bin/emergserv.cgi 


Credit reporting agency. 


Call this hotline to find out if an iden- 


(800) MC-ASSIST (622-7747) 




tity thief has been writing bad checks 


Report lost or stolen credit card: 


Opt Out 


in your name. 


(636)722-7111 


Direct Marketing Association 


Social Security Administration 


Visa 


Consumer Assistance 


Office of the Inspector General 


www.usa.visa.com/personal 


www.dmaconsumers.org 


www.ssa.gov/oig/guidelin.htm 


/security/need_help_now.html 


/offmailinglist.html 


(800) 269-0271 


(800)847-2911 


Indicate mail preferences. 


Report fraudulent use of your Social 


(410)581-9994 


Opt-Out Prescreen 


Security card to obtain benefits. 


Wachovia 


www.optoutprescreen.com 


U.S. Postal Inspection Service 


www.wachovia.com/helpcenter 


(888) 567-8688 


www.usps.com/websites/depart 


/page/0„5184_5274 ; 00.html 


Opt out of preapproved credit or 


/inspect/fraud/welcorme.htm 


(800)477-9131 


insurance offers. 


To report stolen mail or a fraudulent 


Wells Fargo Bank 




address change, look in your local 


www.wellsfargo.com/help 


Investigate 


phone book for the nearest Postal 


/indexjhtml 


Certegy 


Inspector or go to this Web site. 


(866) 867-5568 


www.certegy.com /Con tact U s 






.html#USCONSUMER 


Report Credit Card Fraud 


Additional Resources 


(800) 770-3792 


American Express 


Call For Action 


Determine if anyone is writing 


https://www1 24.americanexpress 


www.callforaction.org 


fraudulent checks on your account. 


.com/cards/home 


Federal Trade Commission 


Chex Systems 


Card replacement: (800) 992-3404 


ID Theft 


www.consumerdebit.com 


Customer service: (336) 393-1 1 1 1 


www.consumer.gov/idtheft 


/consumerinfo/us/en 


On the Web site, click Customer Ser- 


(877) I DTH EFT (438-4338) 


/consumerreports/indexhtm 


vice to find links to initiate a report. 


Identity Theft Resource Center 


(800) 428-9623 


Bank of America 


www.idtheftcenter.org 


Obtain a consumer report about 


www.bankofamerica.com 


Privacy Rights Clearinghouse 


checking accounts in your name. 


(800) 848-6090 


www.privacyrights.org 




PCToday / October 2006 



Business Travel 911 



Crank It Up 



Recharge Your Mobile Device With Hand Power 



You're stuck somewhere. You need to call 
someone — your spouse, a friend, a tow 
truck— but you're worried that your cell 
phone battery doesn't have enough of a 
charge to get through. Your car battery 
or a wall outlet could charge your 
phone, if only you had thought to bring 
along the right adapter. 
It doesn't take long to think up a few sce- 
narios in which you'd gladly trade a little elbow grease for a 
few minutes of cell phone time. A hand-cranked recharger can 
help — sometimes . 




Turn the crank on one of these rechargers, and you'll spin 
magnets past a coil of wire to generate electricity. Typically, a 
couple of minutes of crank time recharges a cell phone enough 
for a short call, which could save your bacon in an emergency. 
Say your friend injures himself when you're hiking in the 
mountains. A crank recharger could keep the battery-draining 
GPS (global positioning system) locator in your cell phone acti- 
vated for rescuers to hone in on. 

It makes sense that crank rechargers would make good 
emergency kit items, so some pull double or triple duty as ra- 
dios and /or flashlights. We looked at a couple rechargers that 
you might consider. by Marty Sems 



Innovative Solutions And Technologies Sidewinder Cell Phone Charger 

$24.95 • www.istdesigns.com 




The best-known crank recharger is the SideWinder from 1ST. 
The solidly built, kidney-shaped unit fits easily in one hand or a 
pocket. Its crank handle folds flat when you're not using it. 

A white LED glows as you turn the SideWinder's crank, and 
it stays on for up to half an hour thanks to a small, rechargeable 
cell inside. This feature acts as a temporary, light-duty flash- 
light. If you keep cranking, the LED gets bright enough to light 
your path in the dark. 

1ST includes a zippered nylon belt pouch that's roomy enough 
for the SideWinder and its accessories, which include a wrist lan- 
yard, a recharging cable, and four adapter tips. The tips cover a 
broad array of cell phones. (1ST doesn't specifically pitch the 
SideWinder as a recharger for PDAs or other mobile gear, although 
any 6.2-volt device might work with it.) Extra adapter tips are 
available for certain LG, Nextel, and Samsung phones for $5 each. 
1ST also sells a tip for Motorola's RAZR, but not for Verizon's ver- 
sion due to a Verizon software incompatibility with the charger. 

The company claims that two minutes of cranking will net you 
about six minutes of call time or 30 minutes of powered idling, 
such as when you're waiting for a call. 1ST recommends a couple 
of turns per second — "one thousand one, one thousand two\" — to 
get the fastest charge. A built-in regulator limits the output to 6.2 
volts, or 1 volt beyond the battery's rated voltage. 

The SideWinder's most obvious flaw is the racket its crank 
makes as you turn it. If you're using this charger in public, you'll 
turn some heads as people wonder what all the screeching is about. 

We started our testing with a rechargeable battery that was too 
depleted to boot up our Kyocera Blade cell phone. As we cranked, 



it took a few tries to get our phone's software into charging mode 
because it goes through a graphical startup sequence and turns off 
again every time the phone detects a power cord connector. 

Credit a desk job for how quickly our left hand got sore and 
crampy as we turned the SideWinder's crank with our right 
hand. (This counts as exercise, right?) We had to hold the 
power cord away from the crank to keep from getting tangled 




$*hh, 




The pocket-sized 1ST SideWinder can add battery life to your phone 
with its hand crank, but the crank is noisy. 



October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



Business Travel 911 



up. A curious side effect of electromagnetic energy transfer: 
We could feel when the phone was drawing more current be- 
cause the SideWinder became much harder to crank. 

In short, two minutes of cranking on our dead battery still left 
us with a phone that wouldn't boot, so we used an AC adapter to 
jumpstart the phone a little. After a partial charge to one battery 
bar out of four, and with a low-battery warning at startup, we 
cranked for an additional two minutes on the SideWinder. Our 



phone then managed a five-and-a-half minute call. When we 
recharged to the same battery level without adding crank power, 
we made a call of about four-and-a-half minutes. Granted, this 
was imprecise testing at best. Your experience will vary. 

After trying it once or twice, you'll probably only feel like 
using the SideWinder again in an emergency. Just make sure 
that your threshold of what constitutes an emergency means 
that your cell phone battery still has some power left. 



Lillian Vernon 5-in-l Hand-Crank Emergency Mate As The Crank Turns 




For just $5 more than the SideWinder , 
you get a radio, alarm clock, and flashligh 
combo that can run off of AA batteries 
(not included), AC power (adapter not in- 
cluded), or a rechargeable cell powered by 
the crank. There's even a replaceable 
watch battery to power the LCD clock. 
The solid-feeling Emergency Mate is also 
rainproof, Lillian Vernon says. 

On the downside, our sample unit 
didn't come with a recharging cable or 
any adapters, so we had to borrow the 
SideWinder's. Lillian Vernon doesn't 
seem to sell these separately, so you might 
have to visit an electronics store to buy 
extra cables and adapters. Also, unlike the 
compact SideWinder, the Emergency 
Mate isn't something you're likely to carry 
around in your pocket. 

The device's cranking mecha- 
nism is much quieter than the 
SideWinder's. You might even be 
able to listen to its radio as you 
crank. We tucked the recharging 
cable under the telescoping radio 
antenna, which kept it nicely out of 
our way. Our left hand felt better 
during cranking, because it had a 
camcorder-sized chunk of plastic 
to hold onto. On the other hand, 
we wished that the Emergency 
Mate's cone-shaped cranking knob 
was as comfortable to turn as the 
SideWinder's flat knob. 

The Emergency Mate's brief in- 
structions, like the SideWinder's, 
recommend two or more minutes 
of cranking at two revolutions 
per second. The Emergency Mate 
only claims to provide about one 



$29.98 • www.lillianvernon.com 

minute of phone time per two minutes 
cranking, though. 

Like the SideWinder, the Emergency 
Mate couldn't revive our dead battery. 
Starting from a partial charge, however, we 
made a call of approximately five to five- 
and-a-quarter minutes long, for a roughly 
30 to 45 second gain. Again, our testing had 
plenty of room for error, so we can't pass 
any judgments here. 

The Emergency Mate comes in your 
choice of pink, blue, or green. Laugh if you 
want, but these perky colors may help the 
radio stand out when you're looking for it 
in dim light after the power goes out in bad 
weather. Finally, there's an oblong red 
Emergency button above the clock, which 
triggers a siren to signal rescuers if need be. 



Think of a crank recharger as a last 
resort. Because the SideWinder Cell 
Phone Charger and the Emer-gency 
Mate we tested couldn't bring our 
dead battery back to life (although a 
lot more cranking might have 
helped), we can't really recommend 
either as must-have equipment. In 
most cases you would be better 
served by carrying around adapters 
for AC outlets and 12-volt car 
power. 

However, hand chargers are 
certainly better than nothing. Say 
your digital phone's battery is 
only on the brink of coma, and 
you need to reach a distant tower. 
This is where a crank recharger 
can carry the day. 



The 5-in-1 Emergency Mate's cell phone recharging is just 
one of its talents. It's also a rainproof radio and flashlight. 





PCToday / October 2006 



Departures 



The Delayed 



tr\ i ne JJeiayea -■ ^^™ 

Traveler 



by Marty Sems 



Admit It, This Is The First Page You Turned To 







Music 
Recharges 

You 




Here's something 
odd that neverthe- 
less makes perfect sense. 
You'd love to recharge 
your cell or MP3 player 
on a long flight, but 
there's no power source 
handy. Or is there? Seats on airlines, and some 
trains and buses, offer phono jacks with music 
or movie audio — and it's electrical current that 
carries the tune. Inflight Power (www. inflight 
power.com) tapped this source of power with its 
line of recharging cables and accessories. 
Imagine never running out of power again on a 
long trip. Kit prices start at $34.99. 



YOUR SEAT IS NEXT \ 
TO MINE, BUT I DONT 
LIKE TO SIT BY PEOPLE J 




One Day At A Time, 

Double Occupancy 



The late Warren Zevon sang about Detox Mansion, raking leaves 
with Liza, and cleaning the yard with Liz. The Sheraton Chicago 
Hotel reportedly offers a similar service for business travelers addicted 
to their CrackBerries. According to 
Reuters, hotel manager Rick Ueno 
will lock up your voluntarily surren- 
dered RIM BlackBerry until you 
want it back, so you can be more 
productive without constantly 
checking your email (as if that 
could happen). Ueno thought 
up the idea when he realized he 
had a BlackBerry addiction, and 
then how much more efficient he 
was after he quit "cold turkey." 
And took up a cell phone instead. 
Baby steps . . . 




v 



IT'S A FULL FLIGHT, 
SO I DON'T SEE HOU 
I COULD. . . OH DEAR. . 




NO, I WILL NOT 
"SCOOCH OVER." 




DILBERT: © Scott Adams/Dist. by United Feature Syndicate, Inc. 



76 October 2006 / www.pctoday.com 



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